Motor racing: Ecclestone says he could bid to buy back F1

SILVERSTONE, England (REUTERS) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has raised the possibility of making a multi-billion dollar bid to buy back the sport's commercial rights from owners CVC Capital Partners.

"It is possible, although one or two other companies are interested and I would not enter an auction," the 83-year-old, who is on trial in Germany accused of bribery, told the Daily Express newspaper on Saturday.

"Our company has been a very good investment for CVC and it would be a very good investment for me or anyone who owned it," he added. "You can make money from it, so it would not be a problem for me to find financial backers. I run it now but it wouldn't make any difference. It just means I would have to buy the shares."

London-based private equity firm CVC is the largest shareholder in Formula One with a stake of around 35 per cent.

Recent reports have indicated that John Malone's Liberty Global and Discovery Communications are in discussions with CVC and the bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings to buy a 49 per cent stake in the business.

CVC may also contemplate an initial public offer of Formula One, but that would be unlikely before the conclusion of Ecclestone's trial in Munich.

CVC said in November last year that Ecclestone, who has acknowledged that a conviction in Germany would force him out of a business in which he is also a 5 per cent stakeholder, would be fired if he was found guilty of wrongdoing.

However, the Briton indicated on Saturday that it might be difficult to oust him.

"I have a contract with the company, not the shareholders," Ecclestone told the Express. "I have seen some rubbish about being pushed out but CVC have been super-supportive through my troubles."