Monday, October 7, 2013

In Formula One, a Grip Not Easily Loosened

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium — The command center of the shimmering, multibillion-dollar road show that is Formula OneGrand Prix racing is an unobtrusive, gray-walled motor home known colloquially as the Kremlin.

Named for the iron-fisted rule dispensed from its bland leather sofas, the Kremlin sits parked at the heart of a crowded paddock that is the base for teams like Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes and McLaren. It can be easy to miss amid the gourmet restaurants and wine-stocked bars of the teams’ palatial hospitality centers, but none in the paddock dispute that the Kremlin and its elusive tenant — the 82-year-old Englishman Bernie Ecclestone — remain the nerve center of racing’s Billionaires Row.

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