Ex-Diageo chief walks away from F1

Jun.4 (GMM) A supposed threat to Bernie Ecclestone’s reign appears to have ended.

Late last year, reports began to emerge that Paul Walsh, the former Diageo chief, was being lined up as the sport’s new chairman.

The reports speculated that Walsh intended to “marginalise” 84-year-old Ecclestone, or at least “rein in” the diminutive Briton.

To which Ecclestone replied: “He would be unique if he could do that. First he’s got to be appointed, hasn’t he?”

But in the days before Christmas, F1’s owner CVC did indeed officially appoint Walsh to the board, as he became a non-executive director.

However, Mark Kleinman, the City Editor of Britain’s Sky, now reports that Walsh in fact never took up the role.

And the December press release about Walsh’s appointment has now been removed from the CVC website.

CVC did not comment.

The development comes at an interesting time, with the sport as a whole considering if the current regulations are hurting formula one’s appeal.

But the current governance system is frustrating Ecclestone deeply, as he thinks it was better when he and Max Mosley ran F1 in a less democratic fashion.

“Would I like to change something? I would like to change a lot of things!” he was quoted last week by the French broadcaster Canal Plus.

“Now with Jean Todt it is very democratic. He wants to please everyone. And when you have competitive teams, it is impossible to keep everybody happy,” Ecclestone added.

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