And the billionaire, 87, who built F1 into a world force, could have the support of grand prix legends Ferrari.
The Italian giants are enraged that Liberty Media, the US company that bought F1 in a shock takeover, have announced they are poised to slash Ferrari’s massive fee deal set up by Ecclestone.
Reigning champions Mercedes are unhappy with the Liberty Media set-up and influential boss Toto Wolff has come out in support of angry Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne who has threatened to pull his team out of F1.
Late last year Marchionne said: “If Liberty make changes I do not want to play any more.”
“There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020-21”
And, without citing his firm friend Ecclestone as a likely planner, he also added: “There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020-21.
“And if Liberty Media think we are bluffing then they are playing with fire.”
Wolff said: “If I were F1’s new promotor Liberty Media I would not continue provoking Marchionne with unacceptable or non-sensical demands.
“We are looking for evolution, not revolution.”
Grid girls smile on before the drivers parade of the British F1 Grand Prix
Those statements, along with the fact former F1 leader Ecclestone is unhappy with the replacement outfit’s future aims, has contributed to the rumours of a rival title chase gaining momentum.
And Ecclestone, who still attends grands prix around the world, said: “I think Liberty want to make life difficult for me.
“I went to the Bahrain grand prix last year and had an office in the control tower but this time they dumped me in the VIP area outside the paddock.”
He knows that the top teams are on a collision course with Liberty Media as their prize money, linked to F1’s financial performance, is under threat of a cutback.
Revenue from the 2017 season, Liberty’s debut year, slumped £13m – the biggest drop for a decade.
Meanwhile, in today’s Chinese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton started fourth on the grid with Sebastian Vettel on pole position, after winning the opening two races.