On how it is not possible to run Formula 1 like a corporate business:It would never work. You've got to be flexible and take a few risks and hope you get them right.
You couldn’t run this whole business corporate-wise. Any one of the CEOs of any of these large companies would find it extremely difficult and tiresome to try to do it. There’s so many things you have to look at. Everybody’s got a different reason for doing things or not doing them. There’s people with vast amounts of money and people with not quite as much money. Big sponsors and smaller sponsors coming in and they all need looking after in a way. And you’ve got all the people, the promoters of the races that are trying to sell tickets and things. And you have to try and look after everybody.
On the extraordinary web of his workforce built up over the years, with many employees dating back to his Brabham team period:Yes, I’ve got people that have been with me forever. Thirty, thirty-five years. We put them in different places.
On how people are not generally aware of the innovations he has been responsible for:When I proposed starting the race with the lights rather than the flags, people said I was totally mad.
Silly things, but lot’s of things, like an exploratory lap before the race so they can have a look and see if the circuit’s still all right. Silly little things that have been adopted and have stayed there forever, which I’m happy we’ve done. So I’ve sort of improved things as we’ve gone, on the run.
On how he chooses which are the most critical problems:It’s like anything in business, getting your priorities right. I mean people say to me, “What do you do?” And I say, “I’m a firefighter.” All day long there’s fires and we put them out. So we have to try and put the fires out. Some often need a lot more water than others.
On how his removal at the helm would be difficult for the series to digest thanks to his web of contacts:Well, forget that…. I mean, I’ve got people worldwide that trust me and they know that if I say something, I’ll do it. And that’s why they rely on me to do it. I’m as good as my word. And that’s where I’ve got the luck at getting people to do things, and they say if I say something they generally follow. But when you say “remove,” you know, nobody can remove me – except the shareholders in the company, but they seem quite happy.
On his relationship with Max Mosley, the president of the FIA:He was with us in the early days when I started and he was helping me from a lawyer’s point of view because he is a lawyer. And it sort of grew from there. Then we supported him to be in the FIA, firstly not as a president, but firstly he was in there on a commission, as president on a commission. And then the opportunity arose that he wanted to be president so we supported him to be president. At that time he said he didn’t need to get involved in Formula One because it’s working well. And he would look after the grass roots of the sport. But then he got involved, in some way, he got dragged into things to try and improve the sporting side.
On whether he and Mosley always agree on everything:We don’t always agree. We have differences of opinion on many things.
On Mosley's road safety crusade at the FIA:One hundred percent Max. and he’s doing a first class job. He’s doing a really good job with that. He was explaining to me the other day how many lives have been saved, and injuries, over the period.
On rumors in 2008 that they were fighting each other after Mosley was involved in a sex scandal:What happened last year, we had a bit of a problem he had…. The manufacturers and sponsors said to me, you know, Max is not the ideal guy to have as representing the FIA. Doesn’t look good. I said, “You know, what people privately do, they do it in private it’s nothing to do with….” “No, no, no, you’ve got to tell him to stand down.” Because I was close enough with him to tell him, “I think Max you should stand down.” And in the meantime, he didn’t.
And in the meantime he went to the general assembly of the FIA for a vote of confidence. And he got the vote of confidence. So he didn’t stand down. And that’s it. In fact, I apologized to him. I said, “You know, we’ve been mates for a long, long time. And go back a long time together. And perhaps I shouldn’t have been against you, maybe I should have been supporting you rather than saying the opposite. But I was pushed a little bit into doing that. And that’s why it happened.”