Bernie Ecclestone insists he has no fear for his personal security ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian grand prix.
Earlier this year, the mother of the F1 supremo’s Brazilian wife was kidnapped and threatened with beheading by a group linked with a helicopter pilot who formerly worked with Ecclestone.
So when asked if he is worried as he returns to Sao Paulo for the grand prix, the 86-year-old insisted: “I’m not afraid. Why should I be?
“In the last eight years, this was one of the biggest abductions,” Ecclestone told the German newspaper Bild. “Brazil is not as dangerous as many people think.”
In fact, the Briton revealed he is not planning to implement any extra security measures for his travels in the sprawling metropolis this week.
“No,” said Ecclestone. “There’s no need to be frightened or worried.”
Bild also asked Ecclestone about reports some drivers are calling for the return of gravel traps in F1, to stop cars from cutting corners.
“We walked away from gravel because then you have trucks and cranes on the track removing cars that are stuck,” he said.
And he also played down claims that Sebastian Vettel can be a Michael Schumacher-like figure for Ferrari, amid the Italian team’s current crisis.
“No,” said Bernie. “He does not have the charisma and power that Michael did. Vettel is not Michael. He was special.”
Finally, Ecclestone eased the fears of German F1 fans who worry that F1’s new owner Liberty might take the sport off free-to-air television.
“No,” he said. “RTL will get formula one again for the next three years.”
But he warned that the future of the uncertain German grand prix is another matter entirely.
“The organiser, whether it’s Hockenheim or the Nurburgring, can’t even pay a strongly reduced fee,” said Ecclestone.
“It’s not fair on the other organisers in Europe if we make an exception for them. Maybe it’s the Germans who do not like formula one,” he added.