At the age of 82, Bernie Ecclestone is thought to be worth around three billion pounds. Widely considered as the main authority in Formula One racing, he is frequently described by tabloid journalists as the "F1 Supremo".
His first involvement with motor racing was in 1958 as a competitor. He entered two Grand Prix races as a driver but failed to qualify for either of them. He then managed various drivers eventually buying the Brabham F1 team in 1972 and running it for fifteen years. He was also a member of the Formula One Constructors Association.
Ecclestone’s control of the sport grew from the sale of television rights in the late 1970s. Today his companies manage the administration, setup and logistics of each Formula One Grand Prix.
Sadly, wealth and power does not seem to have brought a life of happiness and contentment to Bernie Ecclestone. Controversy has never been far away.
In 2005 he caused outrage with women when speaking about Indycar racer Danica Patrick, remarking: "You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances”.
In a Times interview in July 2009, Ecclestone stated: "apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was.....able to get things done."
He also said that his friend Max Mosley, son of British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, "would do a super job" as Prime Minister, adding, "I don’t think his background would be a problem."
Ecclestone is currently facing the prospect of up to up 10 years in prison. He has been charged with bribery by federal prosecutors in Germany, relating to the sale in 2006 of Formula One by German bank Bayern LB to CVC Capital partners.
In a recent newspaper interview he is reported as saying: 'If I get sent to jail I will have to deal with it. But I don't think I will like it very much.’
Writing in the Mail Online, Jill Reilly reported today that: “The 82-year-old is worth an estimated £3billion, but claims that his fame and fortune have not bought him joy. 'I am not sure what happiness is. What do those feelings mean? I have experienced satisfaction when I have planned something and it has come off. But happiness ?...... I am not so sure”.
As a Christian I feel desperately sorry for Bernie Ecclestone. To reach the age of 82 with all the accrued wealth and power and yet be unsure about ever having experienced happiness, is bleak in the extreme.
The Bible has a lot to say about happiness. Psalm 1 verse 1 says: "Happy are those who don't listen to the wicked". Additionally, the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament says, "The joy of the Lord is our strength”.
Finally, regarding wealth, Matthew’s Gospel is pretty direct when it says: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also".
I am neither wealthy nor powerful, but I am most certainly happy because I know where my heart is. Where is your heart Mr Ecclestone ?