Until now, the F1 chief executive has always said he has no intention of stepping down.
"As long as I feel I can deliver, and the shareholders are happy for that to happen, I will stay," the diminutive Briton said in 2012.
But Ecclestone has now admitted he is thinking about retiring.
"I'm going to be 84 at the end of this year so I am probably going to have to start to think, do I want to go into the 85th year doing what I've been doing for goddamn how many years?" he is quoted by the Mirror.
"It's something I'll have to give some very serious thought to."
Ecclestone likened his thoughts about quitting to a sports star at the top of his game.
"The important thing is to know when you should hang the boxing gloves up," he said, "so you are not going to end up going into the ring and getting a good hiding."
He said the Gribkowsky case, in which he is accused of bribing the now-jailed Gribkowsky to the tune of dozens of millions of dollars, has nothing to do with his new retirement thoughts.
"No, that's nothing. No, no," Ecclestone insisted. "It's the way people have to run businesses today compared to how they used to."
He said he is referring to today's era of "corporate governance", involving "different committees, ethics committees and god knows what else boards to report to".
"I didn't know about any of these things back then," said Ecclestone. "Probably, if I had of done, I wouldn't have lasted as long as I lasted.
"And we will be more restricted as time goes on. That's how the world is. It's coming that way. I don't agree with it.
"What we are slowly but surely managing to do is get rid of entrepreneurs. Getting rid of people who think outside the box," he said.