Bernie Ecclestone at Bahrain Grand Prix 2005

Bernie Ecclestone, Bahrain GP, Sunday April 3rd, 2005.

MANAMA : Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone said he was delighted with the sport s new format this year and happy to stay on as chief executive.

Speaking to ITV commentator and pundit Martin Brundle on the grid prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ecclestone grinned as he joked about his position being under threat from banks that now control his management companies.

"The banks are a lot bigger than me," he said. "But I don t know if that means much or if I am succeeding! I’m still here and I’m still chief executive. I’m in good shape and I’m staying until I get fired!"

He said the new format with final qualifying introduced on Sunday mornings prior to the race was a success.

He said: "It looks like we got it right and finally I think we ve got it the way people wanted it."

Ecclestone’s management group Formula One Management is controlled by three German banks which recently won a court case to exert greater voting rights at key meetings.

Ecclestone has enjoyed an iron grip over the management of Formula One’s commercial rights for many years and his companies have a 120-year contract with the sport’s ruling body the FIA.

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