London: Facts about Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone who is 80 on Thursday.
-- Born near Bungay in Suffolk, eastern England, his father was a Lowestoft fisherman.
-- He built up a motorcycle spares business and then went into business with Fred Compton to form the Compton & Ecclestone motorcycle dealership.
-- In 1957 he bought the struggling F1 team Connaught and attempted to qualify himself for the British Grand Prix. He also went into management, managing Welsh driver Stuart Lewis-Evans, but when his driver died after crashing at the Moroccan Grand Prix, Ecclestone abandoned the sport.
-- He later returned as manager to Jochen Rindt, whose death at Monza in 1970 made him the sport's only posthumous champion.
-- Quitting again after that fatality, he returned in 1972 when he bought the Brabham team, and watched it became a winning force with drivers such as Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet.
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-- He founded the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) and with the help of his lawyer and friend Max Mosley began to gain control of the sport's management and finances.
-- He united the teams and secured global TV rights, setting up Formula One Promotions and Administration (FOPA).
-- In November 1997 it was revealed that Ecclestone had given the Labour Party one million pounds ($1.59 million). The government later decided to exempt Formula One from a proposed ban on tobacco sponsorship. Labour gave the money back.
-- In March 2009 his divorce from Croatian wife Slavica, now 52, was finalised ending a 26-year association with the ex-model who towered above him. The couple have two daughters.
-- In January 2010, Ecclestone became part of a bid to buy the struggling Swedish carmaker Saab but small Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker clinched a last-minute deal.
-- His 2011 calendar will stretch the season to a record 20 races, with the addition of the Indian Grand Prix.
-- Ecclestone has an estimated 1.37 billion pounds ($2.18 billion) fortune, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List.
-- Earlier this month, he attended the signing in Sochi with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of a seven-year deal for Russia to host a grand prix from 2014.
First Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 10:04