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CVC looking outside F1 for Ecclestone’s replacement

Jul 23, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Qualifying Getty Images

Formula One owners CVC Capital Partners say Bernie Ecclestone’s successor in charge of F1 will be recruited from outside the sport.

A CVC source told The Telegraph the F1 operation numbered little more than 300 staff: “The business is too small to have a successor lurking in the ranks. The successor almost certainly has to come from externally.”

Justin King, the boss of British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, is among those who have been tipped to take over Ecclestone’s role.

When CVC planned F1’s ultimately failed flotation on the Singapore stock exchange last year executive search firm Egon Zehnder was tasked with produced a secret list of potential replacements for Ecclestone.

Ecclestone’s position in control of the commercial side of Formula One has been put in jeopardy as prosecutors in Germany have indicted him for bribery. Ecclestone has previously said he expected CVC will replace him if he were to face charges.

CVC said last week it “will continue to monitor developments in this situation” regarding the bribery charges leveled at Ecclestone.

The Telegraph’s source added “the reality is that Bernie runs the business and he is much closer to what is going on than we are. We are obviously important in the sense that we are the shareholders but we don’t run the business on a day to day basis.”