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Ecclestone defends Ferrari's $100 million bonus

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Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has defended his role in the decision to grant a $100 million bonus to Ferrari for staying in the sport.

Ferrari received the annual pay-out as the only team to have been in F1 since it began. The extra money received by the Italian squad was itself double the total received by now-defunct Manor Racing.

New owners Liberty have hinted at stopping the bonus payout. But in an interview with Sky Sports News' Craig Slater, Ecclestone explained why it came about.

"Why did that happen in the first place? It's very simple. [Former owners] CVC at that time wanted to have a public offering. We wanted to make sure before they went into the market we could guarantee the teams would be there.

"When we looked at all the teams to see who could actually commit to 2020 - and when they committed would be there, because a lot of the teams say 'we'll sign it'

"But they'd have signed anything and then go out of business the next week. It wouldn't have made any difference.

"We got a real commitment right from the top of the big companies so they needed to be rewarded for making their long term commitment.

"They said 'we need something for that' and quite rightly so. And that's what happened."

Asked whether he thought Ferrari could quit the sport if the bonus were to be phased out, Ecclestone said that nothing was forever.

"Someone told me the other day that since Formula 1 started we've had more than 70 teams, which I didn't believe. But knowing the person that told me, it must be true.

"Nothing's forever so you don't know. If someone upsets Ferrari they could stop. Probably Mercedes will win another couple of championships, then maybe they'll say 'we've seen it and done it.'"

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