Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007

Ecclestone book reveals animosity with Dennis that cost McLaren

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007

Tom Bower’s new book on Bernie Ecclestone shows how his hostility towards Ron Dennis cost McLaren dearly in 2007.

Ecclestone says: “When Flavio [Briatore] stuck a knife in my back, he charmed me and said, ‘It’s good for you to let out some blood.’

“But when Ron puts the knife in, he wants you to know that he’s in charge and he’s killed you.”

It shows how some of F1’s recent scandals were driven by jealousies between Ecclestone, Dennis, Briatore and former FIA president Max Mosley.

During the ‘spygate’ affair in 2007 Fernando Alonso waited until the Hungarian Grand Prix to threaten Dennis by revealing incriminating emails.

But he had already revealed their contents to Briatore two weeks earlier, who in turn had shared the details with Ecclestone and Mosley.

Ecclestone later talked Mosley down from banning McLaren for two years (“bit heavy”, he said) and instead imposing a record $100 million fine. Mosley joked that it was “$5 million for the offence and $95 million for Ron being a twat”.

Briatore was later embroiled in a cheating scandal but remains a close ally of Ecclestone’s. The pair share an unusual nickname for Lewis Hamilton -‘Jumbo’.

But Ecclestone is less comfortable with Mosley’s replacement as FIA president, Jean Todt, of whom Ecclestone says: “He put the president’s hat on and his personality changed”.

The book also reveals Ecclestone draws a ??2.5 million salary from F1 owners CVC plus ??1 million in bonuses.

F1 is set to be broadcast in high definition for the first time this year but according to Bower FOM had “perfected” their HD broadcast in 2006.

Among the many anecdotes from earlier in Ecclestone’s career is this about a failed bid for a Russian Grand Prix in the early eighties: “The city’s mayor wanted us to race across the cobblestones in Red Square and put the entire thing through his wife’s bank accounts.”

Read the F1 Fanatic review of “No Angel”:

Buy “No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone” by Tom Bower

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Image ?? www.mclaren.com