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King could be heir to Ecclestone’s F1 throne

Apr 1, 2013, 4:29 AM EDT

Formula One supremo Ecclestone poses as he arrives for the FIA Prize-Giving ceremony in Istanbul

Could supermarket boss Justin King succeed Bernie Ecclestone as the man in charge of the world’s number one form of motor racing?

Ecclestone’s vision has shaped Formula One for almost four decades, harnessing the vast income from the sale of television rights to make it a truly global sport.

The 82-year-old’s work ethic remains indefatigable, but it’s no secret that he cannot go on forever.

Acknowledging that, F1 owners CVC appointed head hunter Egon Zehnder last year to craft a succession plan so the sport is prepared for life after Ecclestone.

Among those tipped as a potential successor to Ecclestone is 51-yeal-old Justin King, boss of major British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.

King fulfils the first requirement of a potential successor: he’s a fan of the sport. So much so that son Jordan is pursuing a career in racing.

Jordan King has graduated from Formula Renault 2.0 to the FIA’s European Formula Three championship this year. The fact his blue-and-white Dallara’s flanks bear the logos of Goodfellas pizzas, King of Shaves razors and other Sainsbury’s suppliers has not passed without comment.

Ecclestone remains tight-lipped as ever on the subject of his successor: “I’ve no idea whether the boss of a company like Sainsbury’s could do my job,” he told The Guardian.

Whoever gets the gig certainly has big shoes to fill: Ecclestone was recently named the 22nd most powerful man in sport by Sports Illustrated magazine.

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