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Youve got to hand it to Bernie



You just cant help but admire Bernie Ecclestone. The 80-year-old Formula One supremo suffered a viscous mugging in London recently, during which he was punched and kicked and sustained head injuries when he was knocked to the ground.

The billionaire was attacked outside the offices of Formula One Holdings in Knightsbridge in late November. The four assailants made off with around 200,000 worth of jewellery from both Ecclestone and his 31-year-old girlfriend, Fabiana Flosi.

A severe beating like that would be enough to shake lesser mortals, but not Ecclestone. Not only was he back at work the following day, sporting a heavily bruised black eye, but he has now appeared in an advertisement for luxury watch manufacturer, Hublot, which is an official partner of F1. The companys highly-desirable and exclusive timepieces retail for many of thousands of pounds.

The advertisements appeared in the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune and show a photo of Ecclestones shocking facial injuries above a caption which reads: See what people will do for a Hublot?

It shows that the commercial rights holder of F1 has not lost his sense of humour, or come to that his eye for a commercial venture.

Its not the first time Ecclestone has been mugged. Four years ago the same thing happened as he was parking his brand new Mercedes Benz CLS55 outside his mansion in Chelsea Square.

It was mildly ironic that he should be attacked in this way since only a short time beforehand, he had commented on the attempted car-jacking on Jenson Button in Sao Paulo just before the Brazilian Grand Prix. At the time Ecclestone said: "They look for victims, they look for anyone that looks like a soft touch and not too bright. The people that look a bit soft and simple, they will always have a go at.

And working on the principle that theres no such thing as bad publicity, Ecclestone will probably be smiling at the fact that a new authorised biography of him is due out this month, and that any way in which his profile is raised at the time of its launch cant be a bad thing.