"Maybe it (Ward's candidature) has opened the door for other potential candidates," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
"They'll say 'If he can, I can too'. So we don't know how many (candidates) there will be in the end. There's still time to submit a nomination," Ecclestone added.
A name, mentioned not only by Auto Motor und Sport but also separately by Speed Week, has now emerged -- Mohammad Bin Sulayem.
He is known as the highest ranking motor racing official in the United Arab Emirates, and formerly a strong supporter of Max Mosley.
The 51-year-old, a former Middle East rally champion, also made headlines a few years ago when he crashed a modern Renault formula one car at an event in Dubai.
Speed Week quoted an insider as saying: "He would be a dangerous rival for Todt and Ward, because there are many out there who would support him more than the Frenchman and his (British) challenger."