Posted on April 24, 2014


F1’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone will appear in a Munich court this morning on the first day of his bribery trial, that is expected to last well into the Autumn. The case, slated to run for 26 days, will run for months as the judge has scheduled a limited number of days in court each week to allow Ecclestone to continue to run the multi-billion dollar F1 business from his office in London. What’s behind it? The 83-year-old is accused of paying German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky around £26 million in bribes in 2006 in order to smooth the sale of More…

Posted on March 3, 2014


In seven weeks from now F1′s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone will appear in court in Munich charged with bribery and today he has admitted that his legal challenges are distracting him from his day to day role as the CEO of Formula 1. He has also said that he is actively looking for someone to share the work load and ultimately to succeed him. Speaking to the Financial Times, Ecclestone, 83, struck a markedly less defiant tone than he has in recent weeks when he said, “I’ve been spending time on this [civil] case and to spend time on Munich More…

Posted on February 21, 2014


Following on from yesterday’s powerful statement by a High Court judge regarding Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1′s commercial boss for the last 30 years, the sport is holding its breath to see what action the sport’s major shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, will take next and specifically whether they will seek to remove the 83 year old from his executive role in the sport he built up. Ecclestone has already stood down from the board of F1′s holding company pending his criminal trial in Germany in April. But will CVC follow through on a threat to remove him if he was found More…

Posted on January 16, 2014


Formula 1 was thrown into turmoil today as the prosecutors in Munich announced that they intend to bring Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to trial on bribery charges this Spring. The move has meant that while he still has an executive role, his powers have been curbed. At a meeting of the F1 board, following the Munich announcement, Ecclestone stood down as a director. But the board decided to keep him in his position of CEO, running the day to day business of the sport, albeit with two significant restrictions. His activities will be closely monitored and subject to scrutiny More…

Posted on November 27, 2013


“Christian would be ideal,” Ecclestone told reporters in Interlagos, when speaking of his successor as CEO of the Formula 1 Group. “I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period. It needs someone who knows the sport. “If someone comes in from outside, a corporate type, I don’t think I could work with them. It wouldn’t last five minutes.” Was he serious? Why was he saying this now? The comments by the 83 year old, made on the eve of the final race of the season, have intrigued everyone who works in the sport. And More…

Posted on October 28, 2013


[Updated] Tomorrow in London, F1′s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone begins the defence of a US$170m legal action against him and three other defendants, over the sale of F1 by Bayern LB to CVC in 2005 and the payments around the time of the sale, made by Ecclestone to disgraced Bayern LB employee Gerhard Gribkowsky. Ecclestone has acknowledged making the payments, but denies they were bribes. He says that the payments were in response to Gribkowsky blackmailing him over the conduct of the Bambino Trust. The German threatened to claim to UK Tax Authorities that Ecclestone controlled the trust which would More…

Posted on September 20, 2013


Bernie Ecclestone, F1′s commercial boss, will have to wait until next year to learn whether he will face trial on bribery charges. Ecclestone was indicted in July on charges relating to the conviction of Gerhard Gribkowsky for bribery and breach of fiduciary trust over the sale of F1 in 2006. At the time the court said it would announce in mid September its next move. But the court announced today that it was delaying a decision on whether to pursue a case against Ecclestone as it pondered new submissions from Ecclestone’s lawyers and while a change of judge takes place. More…

Posted on August 5, 2013


Bernie Ecclestone’s legal problems relating to the sale of F1 are mounting up after it was revealed that a court in London has demanded that the F1 Group hand over a raft of documents relating to the 2006 sale of F1′s commercial rights-holding business to current owners CVC. According to the Financial Times, among the papers the court wants to see are due diligence reports on F1 at the time of the sale and the refinancing, CVC’s loan application to Royal Bank of Scotland, documents relating to new revenue streams at the time of the sale including the then forthcoming More…

Posted on July 17, 2013


After months of waiting, Formula 1′s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed this morning that he has been formally indicted by the prosector in Germany, relating to the conviction of former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky for corruption. According to a Financial Times article today, Ecclestone said, “I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment. It’s being translated into English. We are defending it properly. “It will be an interesting case. It’s a pity it’s happened.” Ecclestone added that he had not been offered a route to resolve the suit financially, as had been rumoured in F1 More…

Posted on March 24, 2013


Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he attempted last summer to broker a move for Lewis Hamilton to form a superteam with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull, but that it foundered on Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s loyalty to Mark Webber. “Sebastian wouldn’t have cared if Lewis had signed for the team,’ Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday. “Dietrich is a very honest, straightforward guy and told Mark the door was open for him to stay. That was good of him.” Webber at the time was considering an offer from Ferrari to partner his friend Fernando Alonso, but in the end More…

Posted on March 16, 2013


The 2013 F1 season is already unique in that it has got underway without an agreement binding in the teams, the FIA and the commercial rights holder. Bernie Ecclestone has individual commercial deals with all the teams, except Marussia, but the hold up was agreeing terms with FIA president Jean Todt. However after a series of meetings recently between the two most powerful men in the sport, Todt told the Financial Times this weekend that the issues have been sorted and the FIA will sign the new Concorde Agreement, “I think we have all the ingredients to allow the FIA More…

Posted on February 28, 2013


Will we see a Mexican Grand Prix in the next year? Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he is in discussions to host a race in Mexico during the 2014 season. Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which hosted the last Mexico Grand Prix in 1992, is in line to host the event, however it requires a major upgrade. But this is thought to be faster and more efficient than building a new circuit elsewhere in the country. Interest in F1 in Mexico has increased in recent years with the emergence of Sergio Perez, who scored three podiums for Sauber More…

Posted on January 28, 2013


There have been some interesting developments behind the scenes in F1 in the last week, all related to the fact that there is currently no agreement in place binding in the teams, governing body and commercial rights holder, known as the Concorde Agreement. A meeting was held in Maranello, with a select group of top teams and Ecclestone while the FIA’s Charlie Whiting convened a meeting of the Technical Working Group and Sporting Working Group in London. But in the current regulatory vacuum, the outcome was that Whiting would forward the recommendations of the Groups directly to the World Motor More…

Posted on December 6, 2012


Formula 1 has signed a major new commercial deal with Rolex which will see the luxury watchmaker become the sport’s official timekeeper as part of a long-term partnership. The agreement, which is believed to be worth around £15 million per annum, will also see Rolex design F1’s official timepiece with the Swiss brand’s logos to also be positioned around grand prix circuits and at several corners next season. The joint statement announcing the new partnership also made clear that Rolex’s presence in F1 is “due to develop over the coming seasons”. Ecclestone and long-time Rolex ambassador Jackie Stewart were on More…

Posted on July 17, 2012


Bernie Ecclestone says he “would be interested” in staging a Formula 1 race in and around the Olympic Stadium site should a proposal to turn the venue into the centrepiece of a new Grand Prix track, which was confirmed as being among four bids for the future tenancy today, succeed. The London Legacy Development Corporation, which is charged with promoting and delivering physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration of the Olympic Park in East London following the end of the 2012 Games, which begin on July 27, confirmed in a statement that a bid from “Intelligent Transport Services in Association More…

Posted on June 27, 2012


Gerhard Gribkowsky, the banker from Bayern LB who was once chairman of the F1 holding board, has been convicted of corruption and sentenced to eight and a half years in jail. According to Reuters this evening, “Presiding judge Peter Noll convicted BayernLB’s former chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky of tax evasion, bribery and breach of fiduciary trust in a court in Munich. “Noll described the billionaire (Bernie) Ecclestone as the “driving force” behind the payments but said Gribkowsky, in turn, had shown “high criminal energy” ” Prosecutor Christophe Rodler had summed up his case by saying that Ecclestone was “not More…

Posted on February 24, 2012


Bernie Ecclestone was in a jocular mood this morning when a few of us caught up with him after the Tata Communications announcement for a chat on the issues of the moment. With most of the “Fleet Street” UK national newspaper representatives present, Ecclestone knew that they would need some eye catching news lines to get space in the papers for the story of the day and he didn’t disappoint. The highlight for me was after he had made numerous reassurances that Bahrain’s GP would go ahead in April, that there would be no protests, that the teams were all More…

Posted on February 15, 2012


The last couple of days have seen some robust defence of the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain. The sport’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has briefed some of the Fleet Street (UK newspaper) journalists that the teams are 100% behind it and the FIA has also said that it thinks the event would help to heal tensions in the country. This is despite a return of violence to the streets of the country, on the anniversary of the Day of Rage. So what are we to make of it, with two months to go to the event? Attention now focusses on More…

Posted on July 29, 2011


Bernie Ecclestone arrived in the F1 paddock at 2pm this afternoon and is set to meet with the F1 teams after the ninety minute practice session to discuss the SKY/BBC F1 broadcast deal which was announced this morning. Both Ecclestone and the teams have made it clear in the past that F1 must remain on Free to air TV and yet the Sky part of the deal, where they will broadcast all 20 F1 races and practice sessions live, would seem to contradict that. I’ve spoken to FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh in the last hour and he says that the More…

Posted on July 21, 2011


F1′s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted paying £27 million to a former colleague but says it was not a bribe. THe 80 year old said that he has done nothing wrong and will clear his name, as prosecutors in Germany allege that he paid bribes of $44 million (£27 Mill) to Gerhard Gribkowsky, who was once the lead banker responsible for the 2006 sale of the sport to current owners CVC. Prosecutors further allege that Mr Ecclestone received $41.4m (£25.4m) in commissions from the bank, as well as a large payment to Bambino Holdings, the family trust. The prosecutor More…

Posted on July 9, 2011


On Wednesday I went to the headquarters of Formula One Management at Princes Gate to interview Bernie Ecclestone for Australian Network 10 Television. We spoke of many things and I put to him some of the questions I’ve heard from fans – not least at the recent FOTA Fans Forum events we organsised – to do with F1′s reluctance to expand into social media and where the balance lies between entertainment and sport. * Sebastian Vettel’s current domination of F1 * The balance between entertainment and sport * His sparring match with Jean Todt * His attitude to F1 content More…

Posted on March 1, 2011


We had an interesting, if not entirely intentional, debate here on JA on F1 over the weekend about women drivers in F1 and today F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has given an interview to the official F1 website in which he says that he envisages that Formula 1 could have a female CEO, “probably in three to five years” from now. He builds up to this by saying that, “I am sure that not so long from now 50 percent of the decision makers in the economy and politics will be women. Women have always had a strong influence, and have More…

Posted on December 17, 2010


F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone is reported to have bought out Flavio Briatore’s stake in Queens Park Rangers football club which gives him a majority stake of 62%. The flamboyant Briatore, who got Ecclestone into football in the first place, stepped down as chairman of the club in February. “We’re not changing anything, just tidying a few things up,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “We need to be ready in case we get promoted.” Ecclestone got involved in QPR in 2007 along with Briatore and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who remains a significant shareholder. The club is based in London, near the More…

Posted on December 7, 2010


Back in the 1990s Benetton ran a series of shock adverts, devised by photographer Oliviero Toscani, which helped to define and promote the brand very quickly. They were selling sweaters, but their posters showed a man dying of Aids, a death row prisoner, a nun kissing a priest. Now F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was close to Benetton’s Flavio Briatore throughout those years, has revived the practice with an ad for the Hublot F1 King Power watch, the first official F1 watch. It’s an amazing play; Hublot is a premium brand, with watches retailing for tens of thousands of pounds More…

Posted on October 18, 2010


There is an entertaining interview with F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone on his own F1.com site today. It’s a wide ranging discussion, the occasion being his 80th birthday next Thursday (28th October). It’s quite autobiographical, revealing some interesting details, such as his luck as a child not to be killed when a German warplane crashed near him, blowing him 20 metres, but leaving him unscathed. The discussion keeps coming back to the subject of luck, Ecclestone insisting that he was very lucky in his life to have been presented with many great opportunities – he just had the wisdom and More…

Posted on September 24, 2010


I’ve spent the first part of Friday hosting the Business of Motorsport in Asia conference at the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) – a high octane gathering of Asian business leaders who were there to hear from speakers including Bernie Ecclestone, Tony Fernandes, McLaren’s Ekrem Sami, and the marketing supremos of Shell, LG and Diageo. The event was organised by SGX together with sponsorship agency JMI and it was attended by almost 200 delegates. It was widely agreed that Singapore has performed miracles to establish itself as one of the most important events on the F1 calendar, equal with Monaco. This More…

Posted on January 8, 2010


F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is fronting a powerful European consortium making a late surge to buy troubled Swedish car company, Saab. His partners in the consortium are Renault F1 owner Gerard Lopez, via his Geniii Capital vehicle and Swedish real estate entrepreneur Lars Carlstrom. Saab is currently owned by General Motors and is loss making. Ironically for a man who is suspicious of the internet, Ecclestone’s bid is based on the latest thing in automotive innovation – internet in cars. On its website this afternoon, Genii Capital said that it had been brought into the bidding process at a late More…

Posted on September 24, 2009


Bernie Ecclestone has said in the last few days that he thinks that the penalty meted out to Flavio Briatore by the FIA World Motor Sport Council was too harsh. Ecclestone is a member of the WMSC himself and has a personal interest because Briatore is a close friend and business associate with whom Ecclestone spends his evenings at race meetings. Now, it seems their relationship is broken. Speaking at an LG press conference in Singapore today he said, “He’s not talking to me, I don’t know. He thinks I should have defended him, which I couldn’t.” But beyond that, More…

Posted on September 1, 2009


Formula 1 commercial right holder Bernie Ecclestone has said that he fears the Renault board may decide to quit Formula 1 following allegations that Nelson Piquet was asked to crash his car so that his team mate Fernando Alonso could win last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. With car sales well down for all the manufacturers in Formula 1, this is a delicate moment in their participation in the sport anyway. Renault recently announced heavy losses and Toyota is expecting to lose up to $8 billion this year. The feeling in the Spa paddock before the bombshell about the Singapore enquiry More…

Posted on July 22, 2009


As we get ready to head for Budapest, the Concorde Agreement is due to be signed, which should bring in a new co-operation between the teams, the commercial rights holders and the FIA. I noted some comments yesterday by Mario Theissen, the team principal of BMW Sauber, about the need for the teams to have more say over the venues visited by the Formula 1 circus. I’ve heard these sentiments expressed many times before, but it will be interesting to see what traction they get this time around. Presently there is no race in North America, the largest market for More…

Posted on July 6, 2009


Bernie Ecclestone’s interview in the Times last weekend has brought a furious response from politicians and virtual silence from the F1 community. Most people in F1 don’t really want to get drawn into it, as they argue he shouldn’t have allowed himself to be in the first place. What most people don’t understand is why he did the interview. He didn’t appear to have a key message to sell, such as “I know the breakaway threat looked bad, but F1 is now in the best shape it’s ever been in, ” or something of that kind. There are suggestions that More…

Posted on February 22, 2009


Interesting tale in the News of the World today, where Ian Gordon has managed to get an exclusive with Bernie Ecclestone on how the Honda management team turned down his offer of financial help with their buyout of the team. Bernie has done a series of ‘exclusives’ lately; with the FT, the Telegraph, the Express and now the NoW. The Times has been his channel of choice for years, but he now seems to be spreading it around a bit more. This story is interesting because in it Bernie reveals that he proposed putting up some of the money to More…



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