After years of having the threat of a breakaway series hanging over his head, it is now Bernie Ecclestone who is considering walking that road.
On Monday evening Ecclestone’s 40-year reign as Formula 1 supremo came to an abrupt end as he was ousted from the CEO role, replaced by Liberty Media’s Chase Carey.
Ecclestone claimed at the time that he had been “forced out” and told Auto Motor und Sport that he was “dismissed today. This is official. I no longer run the company.”
However, the press release that came out a short while later was more amicable with the Brit speaking of his pride at the “business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula One.”
But it seems not all is well.
According to whispers in the media Ecclestone could fight back with a breakaway series of his own.
BBC Sport’s F1 journalist Andrew Benson reported: “Interesting. Have also been told by a trusted source they expect Ecclestone to fight back v Liberty – with a breakaway series by 2019.”
He added: “Hope these people predicting an Ecclestone breakaway are wrong. Splits are no good for anyone; would be pure vindictiveness.”
Meanwhile journalist Peter Windsor reacted to the 86-year-old’s ousting by saying: “The response today when an F1 luminary was asked privately how Mr E was doing: “He’s setting-up a breakaway series”.
Added to that Germany’s Auto Bild is reporting that Ecclestone could revive long-time friend Flavio Briatore’s GP1 concept.
Involving lower budgets, normally aspirated engines and standard chassis, the series would compromise GP2 and GP3 teams but without the FIA.
Red Bull have already made it clear that they have no intention of looking to a rival series should Ecclestone set one up.
“We are fully behind Formula 1 and do not want anything to do with any other planned series,” Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko told Bild.