Red Bull team principal Christian Horner (center) and Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone (left) talk to soccer superstar David Beckham (right) prior to the Singapore Grand Prix on September 22, 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)

Red Bull team principal (center) and chief executive (left) talk to soccer superstar David Beckham (right) prior to the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 22, 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)

Bernie Ecclestone believes Red Bull team principal Christian Horner would be the “ideal” person to succeed him as Formula 1 chief executive.

Ecclestone, 83, has been in charge of F1 for 40 years and enjoys a close friendship with Horner, who has overseen Red Bull winning the constructors’ and drivers’ titles in the last four seasons.

“Christian would be ideal,” Ecclestone told British media at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. “I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period. It needs someone who knows the sport.

“If someone comes in from the outside, a corporate type, I don’t think I could work with them. They wouldn’t last five minutes.”

Ecclestone’s position has come under scrutiny as he faces up to $140 million worth of damages in London’s High Court, as well as a pending case in Munich, for bribery charges relating to the sale of a stake in F1 in 2005.

The decision of who eventually takes over rests with the series’ owner, CVC Capital Partners, who have said they would remove Ecclestone “if it’s proven he has done anything that’s criminal or wrong.”

The private equity firm added that the allegations and Ecclestone’s age make a clear succession plan “very important.”