Bernie Ecclestone should have quit his role as F1 CEO 'five or six years ago', according to former Renault team boss and ally Flavio Briatore.

No longer associated with the sport, Briatore, however, remains a regular at the Monaco Grand Prix as his boat 'Blue Force' often holds the more lavish parties seen in the harbour over the four-day weekend.

He remains outspoken about his views on the sport, which saw him leave following the 'crashgate' scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, and on predicting the future for the embattled Ecclestone he didn't hold back.

"There is an objective reality," he told Sky Italia, "and that is the fact that Bernie is 83."

Then Briatore spoke about the ongoing trial involving Ecclestone in Munich where he faces bribery charges.

"I'm sorry he is now in this litigation, which may be perceived quite differently if he was 20 or 30," he added.

"I feel sorry for him, but if I was Ecclestone, I would have left five or six years ago."

Indeed Briatore's comments come as the man himself surprised many in the F1 paddock by claiming should current F1 owners CVC find a person they see as a suitable replacement for Ecclestone he "would leave tomorrow".

Those comments also come as insiders believe the Briton could be winning his case in Germany after key witness and the man Ecclestone is accused of bribing, banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, was reportedly contradictory in giving evidence during his time on the stand.

Despite suffering from a heavy cold, which has caused a postponement in his trial, Ecclestone is in Monaco for the highest profile race on the F1 calendar.

In recent months names such as Red Bull's Christian Horner, Briatore and even Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo have been mentioned as replacements while Ecclestone also revealed Mercedes' non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda is another name been thrown into the hat.

Being the man who is often commended as the person who made F1 the huge sport it is today, Ecclestone's potential departure comes at a time of huge change and possible external investigation into how the sport is run.

Earlier in the month team bosses met with F1 bosses to discuss cost-cutting measures as the looming threat of an EU investigation into whether the sport breaches competition law hangs over.

According to some reports the bigger teams are still unwilling to co-operate over introducing sweeping measures to dramatically reduce costs, indeed it is claimed they would happily see some of the smaller outfits leave or be forced into buying 'customer cars' from the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, an idea that has been in the F1 paddock for some time.

While at the same time Briatore was also highly critical of the style of modern F1 with new V6 hybrid power units and DRS.

"This is not the F1 I am used to," he said on Friday.

"In my day the races were gladiator fights, but now it's like accountants -- saving petrol, saving tyres, try not to be penalised ... buttons on the steering wheel like an accordion.

"We had overtakings like Senna and Prost, Villeneuve and Pironi, now it's all pretend. The teams spend 350 million euros per year and someone is just as fast in GP2.

"It's normal that the audience turns away," he said. "We have taken away the noise and now these trumpets? It's like a carnival."

"There has never been a worse time to lose Bernie," Auto Motor und Sport quoted one paddock voice as saying.

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