Ecclestone becomes shareholder of QPR

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LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, a Chelsea fan at heart, has become the majority shareholder in Championship Queens Park Rangers after buying out his friend Flavio Briatore.

"We're not changing anything, just tidying a few things up," the 80-year-old Briton, who now owns about 62 percent of the shares, told Reuters on Friday. "We need to be ready in case we get promoted."

West London-based QPR, whose other major shareholder is Indian steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, are currently top of the division under manager Neil Warnock and on course for a return to the Premier League for the first time since 1996.

Briatore, the former Renault F1 team boss who is currently barred from Formula One activities after a race-fixing scandal, stepped down as QPR chairman in February.

He had joined forces with Ecclestone and Mittal in buying the club in 2007.