Ecclestone would quit if it meant Audi would join F1

Bernie Ecclestone says he would happily step down from his position within Formula 1 if it changed Audi's mind about joining the grid.

The German manufacturer has expressed an interest in starting its own works team following a feasibility study, the results of which found support for the idea within the company.

However sources close to the company insist it would only go ahead if Ecclestone were no longer in charge because of chairman Ferdinand Piech's animosity toward the 84-year-old.

Piech is chairman of Audi parent company Volkswagen Automobile Group which also controls Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda among others.

Ecclestone however says he would move aside if it convinced Piech to allow one of his companies to get involved in F1.

"Nobody has told me that," he told the BBC after Eddie Jordan made him aware of Piech's feelings. "If that was the case, I would leave.

"I would be happy to step down immediately to bring those people in for sure. Absolutely serious. It's true," he added.

Meanwhile, the billionaire said he would hope to leave F1 in better shape than it is now when he finally calls it quits, describing the sport's present state as a "dip" because of "costs".