Christian Horner has been backed to become the next CEO of Formula 1 – by the sport’s former supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Horner, the boss at Red Bull, is the sport’s longest serving team principal having been in charge of the current world champions since 2005.
The 49-year-old executive is overseeing Red Bull’s current domination of the sport, having won both world championships at a canter last year and claiming a one-two finish at the 2023 season-opener on Sunday with Max Verstappen, the double world champion, triumphant in Bahrain.
But Ecclestone – who caused controversy last year after stating he would “take a bullet” for Russian president Vladimir Putin – insists Horner should aim for the sport’s top job next.
“If you had to pick anyone today, I’d say he [Horner] would be as good as there is,” 92-year-old Ecclestone told The Telegraph.
“He listens well. He sorts out what’s rubbish from what isn’t.”
Ecclestone ran Formula 1 for 40 years, a tenure which ended with Liberty Media’s takeover of the sport in 2017, and is decidedly unimpressed with ex-Ferrari executive Domenicali who has been in charge since 2021.
“Stefano has never been any close to things beyond the fact that he once worked for Ferrari,” Ecclestone said.
“Apart from that he didn’t know what happened behind the scenes. I never had somebody beside me. I wasn’t a teacher. I didn’t ever intend to be.”
Ecclestone added that he disagreed with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton using their platform to raise concerns of a political nature, a topic where the FIA have been forced to clarify a change in the regulations in the off-season.
“People don’t go to a Formula 1 race to have a lecture,” Ecclestone stated. “Definitely drivers should have free speech, but it’s a case of when and how they use it.
“It’s wrong. It’s all completely wrong.”