Banks Urged to Keep Ecclestone in Charge

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart and former team owner Eddie Jordan have urged the three banks who took control of Formula One's commercial holdings company to leave Bernie Ecclestone in charge for the sake of the sport.

BayernLB, JPMorgan and Lehman Brothers have won control of the Formula One commercial holdings last week, in an out-of-court settlement with Ecclestone. The three banks hold 75% of the shares whereas Ecclestone has 25%.

But Jordan believes it is vital the banks work in harmony with Ecclestone rather than against him, in a bid to secure the long-term future of the sport.

"Formula One with Bernie Ecclestone is worth far more than without Bernie," the Irishman told The Daily Telegraph. "The banks may have the equity and the voting rights now, but the fact is that Bernie has the promoters, the teams and the sponsors on his side. The real control and value is with Bernie."

Minardi's Stoddart also voiced his concern following the shift in power, and the Australian suggested the banks should sell their F1 stakes to the carmakers who are currently threatening to start a breakaway Grand Prix series in 2008.

But Stoddart made it clear such a deal must be headed by Ecclestone.

"A sale of a stake to the carmakers would be a first step to avoid the disaster of two Championships," Stoddart told the British newspaper. "The banks must realise they need Bernie to make an exit on their investment."

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