Donald Mackenzie, the highest profile figure at F1 owners CVC, has described his investment in the sport as one fraught with “constant crisis”.
This week, the CVC co-founder, who has admitted a conviction for Bernie Ecclestone would mean the F1 chief executive’s demise, has been testifying in the London high court.
“Until that (a conviction) happens we will give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Mackenzie, “provided it is not seriously damaging the business of formula one.”
Ecclestone, who is also being pursued by German prosecutors, is being sued by a German media group called Constantin, claiming the 83-year-old’s alleged bribe to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky cost it over $100 million.
Mackenzie, 56, has often clashed with Ecclestone, possibly because CVC was caught by surprise by the sport’s troubled inner workings.
“It’s been an extremely difficult investment almost from start to finish,” he said, according to the BBC, adding that he thought Ecclestone had “oversold the business”.
“It was constant crisis and firefighting.”
Mackenzie said CVC was also caught out by the political in-fighting between the sport’s authorities and the teams.
“In that period between 2006, when we bought it, and 2009, we could not sell this company,” he said. “It was not sellable. No one wants to buy formula one when there’s no Concorde Agreement signed.
“There was a history of anger,” explained Mackenzie. “This was like a very bad divorce. The husband and wife have been fighting each other for years and years and they could no longer see sense.”
He also admitted to reporters outside court this week that the Ecclestone corruption affair had indefinitely delayed CVC’s plans to float the sport.
But, although those plans are delayed, Mackenzie said F1 is now in a much better state of affairs.
“Thankfully we have agreed all these terms and we now have a stable series,” he said.
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