"I would have made it very clear to Lewis: Either you take what we are offering you now, or you leave. Everybody is replaceable. Only one person decides who drives here and that's me!," the former Formula One boss told f1-insider.com.
Ecclestone then brings some nuance to his statement. He would make the decisions, but that does not mean that as a team boss he was never influenced and that he sometimes chose to keep the peace within his team. This example from 1984 with Brabham shows that 'he who pays the piper calls the tune' applies in most cases.
"We had a very good test with a young Brazilian driver called Ayrton Senna. I wanted him. When Nelson [Piquet] heard that, he got really upset and reacted like a posturing child. He definitely didn't want Senna as a teammate. He immediately recognized his potential. But I didn't care."
However, it was main sponsor Parmalat who didn't like two Brazilian drivers and that was the deciding factor in the end. Ecclestone chose to keep the peace within the team, but saw to it that Senna could work somewhere else. He arranged a seat for him at Toleman.