Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Ecclestone admits he is distracted from day job by legal challenges
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Mar 2014   |  8:56 pm GMT  |  92 comments

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 I am not able to give what I normally would do, 24/7, to the business. I’ve been looking, over the last few years, for somebody who can join me to assist with what I have to do. I will eventually be in a position, if I decide to retire – or unfortunately become dead – to have someone to step into my shoes.”

He was also clearly still bothered by the comments of the Judge in the recently concluded civil action brought by Constantin Medien, which found in Ecclestone’s favour in that he had not conspired to lower the value of the business at the point of sale, but concluded that he was not “a reliable or truthful witness”.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

F1 has really been shown to be a grubby little business. Bernie described by the judge as “not a reliable or truthful witness”, Anthony Hamilton being shown to be “swerving with the truth” and the di Restas proving to be rather “greedy”. F1 is no longer a sport of gentlemen, in fact the last sporting players were probably Tyrell and Hesketh. What a shabby shower.


It is going to be Horner, he doesn’t want it but hey, who expected Bouiller to leave Lotus?


Off-topic James, but do you know what Martin Whitmarsh is doing these days? Thanks.


Still on McLaren’s books, but sorting out his severance deal this month, as I understand it


Hope he lands on his feet when this is over finally !


Formula one is brutal sport… it eats its young and leaves a trail of destruction on careers…and never looks back !


I’m afraid Martin was complicit in his downfall for not binning that awful Macca after Malaysia last year – Ronspeak told him to bring back the superb 2012 McLaren, but Martin decided to stick with the 2013 dud.

And paid the ultimate penalty – his job. If he had listened to Ronspeak and brought back the 2012 car, he may have been with us for F1 2014.

Still, Macca have a habit of making a certain employee take all the blame – eh Dave Ryan anyone? Lewis was somewhat complicit in that shambles, but still kept his job……..


It’s difficult to land on your feet when you’ve just been booted out on your proverbial 😉


Positive he now sees he has to hand over the reins…

Question is to who?! I’ve always thought Gerhard Berger would be a good fit in terms of his personality / experience.


You see how doing jail time is not an option to him? I guess it’s ‘retiring’ all the way: Run to Brazil with the new wife or die trying. This of course only if he risks getting sentenced 🙂


We know he never misses an opportunity to make money and there’s sure to be a reality show in that where we follow Bernie as he is pursued all the way across Europe and South America by the authorities.

All we need now is a title…


Surely with Martin Whitmarsh out of a job as a fully trained “corporate monkey” he must be the favorite for a Bernie assistant?


There is no denying the huge amount of good he has done for F1 over the years but he now just looks silly, take the hint Bernie, it’s time to go.


These comments feel like part of a graceful implementation of a succession plan, with all parties giving Bernie the respect has deserves.

I doubt F1 would exist today without Bernie, every F1 fan should be thankful, only upon his departure will we realise his significance.

Justin King seems like the logical and likely lead of what I imagine will be a management team bought into the lead the future of the sport.


King was at a dinner in London with Todt last Thursday. Nothing to read into that, but they are acquainted. CVC give the impression of not wanting King to take over


We’d do well to get someone with half the business savvy and half the passion for F1 as this odd little man. I reckon he’s another 10 years in him!


F1 needs a new Mr. F1 or Mrs. F1 or Madam F1.

But who can it be?

First thought goes to Flavio Briatore, he´d bring back a lot of glamour & glitz to F1… but in the end he proved to be a [mod].

Tony Fernandes? He´d be great for the sport, clear marketing & global business man. Has a good heart for F1 (though not overly successful)

Eddie Jordan? We´d have a lot of fun with him, and his business acumen is good too.

Eddie Irvine? Maybe too young? But he knows racing & business.

Christian Horner… ? Could be good but is he a loved guy in the paddock? Not all team bosses gel with him. But that might be because of his success. Doing things the red bull way did spice things up in the paddock.

Gerhard Berger: good choice, but Gerhard has lost so much of his funny-ness… he looks so overly serious these days.

Sadly I cannot think of any woman… but would be nice to hear some names.


Hmmm, a joint Irish ticket of Eddies Jordan and Irvine…. that would be entertaining while it lasted 🙂


Let’s hope they would do a better job than their government(s) – Ireland as a country (not just the banking sector) had to be bailed out in 2009 – not a promising indicator.


Monisha Kaltenborn – lawyer, very smart, lots of experience from Sauber, not disliked by anyone, Bernie and Todt respect her a lot

She’d be better than any of the above


James, what about Toto Wolf? He seems to be quite a smart guy…


If she got it, that would be unbelievably good for F1


+1 !!!


Scuderia McLaren

I think Bernie’s best years are ahead if him. So far, we’ve only just seen the beginning of what Bernie can do for Formula One. I pray the great man remain for another decade at least directing things.

As for the court and judge, well he was cleared if all charges. The judge just has an axe to grind after the fact having hoped Bernie would be guilty. Looks like the judge won’t get the German kick back now. One less ivory back scratcher.

Bernie saw through it all.


The judgement didn’t say that Bernie was innocent of bribery, it would be hard to justify finding him innocent of bribery after finding the man who received the money from Bernie was guilty of accepting a bribe. It was a civil case and the judge only found that Constantin Medien couldn’t prove that he was financially injured by Bernie’s bribery scheme.


cleared of all charges?… em… it was a civil case, there were no charges. In germany however it is a different matter, although the burden of proof is somewhat higher.

judge has an axe to grind after the fact…have you read the judgement? all 114 pages of it.


Mr. E, I volunteer to be your successor!


How could he say no to that? 🙂


We do NOT need BE, he has taken F1 to new lows


Blooming right he has, he has to go. as quickly and quietly as possible he has no credit now, when the highest court in our land doubts his credibility and honestly how can he lead a sport as big as formula one


Sure does make one consider this was all planned…meaning they are giving him time to make a quiet exodus…his other partners that is.


Go back to the early 70’s,remember how big Sport Prototypes was.

How big was Cart.

How important was F-2.

See where they are now and where F1 is.

He has made mistakes,as any other human being,but he has made our sport big and the only big racing car championship that has improved (or survived).

Is time for him to go I guess,but F1 as a whole owes him a big THANK YOU,and would be awesome if is said while he is alive and not a postmortem one.

He deserves it.


These other sports have fallen by the side of the track because of F1 and how Bernie has ruthlessly grown it. But would F1 not be better and truly the pinnacle of Motorsport if there was more and better feeder series. F1 now struggles to find decent drivers who can cope with F1 and relays on ‘pay drivers’ with little experience.

Surely F1 would be better to look to improve motorsport in general rather than short sightedly lining its own pockets.

F1 needs someone prepared to do right by the sport and not just shareholders and multi million/billion dollar companies.


Since his chums at the FIA played a key role in killing off sports cars and F2 because they detracted from the major money spinner, this remark seems a little disingenuous.


Ecclestone has done a tremendous – no fabulous job for F1 and done very, very well out of F1 financially himself.

But all good things eventually turn old and tired and need replacing.

Thanks Bernie but your credit is all spent and it is time to let new people do the job, and perhaps give the teams a little more of the dosh.


I wonder how an 83-year old seems to be so indispensable. He must have very good senses and memory at that ripe old age, I suppose. Horner and others crying out aloud that F1 needs Bernie seems more of a emotional cry rather than a well-thought out one. In any organization, leaders and heads change (sometimes very often), but how in F1 a dictator ruling over some emotionally weak people where some good engineering brains work is beyond me. F1 almost sounds like a religion with Bernie as its Pope.


Love him or hate him – you have to admire his longevity. BE and F1 are a perfect match – both cut-throat businesses without a thought for scruples – the only difference is that F1 has a set of rules and a system to enforce them. In BE’s case he ran too free, too long. For sure there must be machinations underway to provide a successor, but it’s pretty obvious that no-one wants to work under BE and BE doesn’t want to show his hand — yet,,,,,, 😉


Hang on in there Bernie…we need you!


Right, Patrick.

I’m surprised at the comments here. Obviously these people think that F1s grow on trees.

News: F1 had to be managed and made to grow lovingly by a wise head with the greatest of skill. That is what we have today to enjoy … Bernie’s brainchild.


Almost no one disputes what he has done to build F1 into what it is, or how difficult that was, or how few others could have done it, or how unappealing the possible successors might look.

But that doesn’t excuse illegal conduct, which (according to the London judge recently) seems to have occurred.


Yeah, like bloody toothache, we need someone with principles


For bribing?


No we don’t.

Jose Sanchez kowalsky

What for? To screw f1 to the doldrums?


Actually we don’t, and it’s time to pass the job on to someone else. If he is convicted while still holding on to the job it looks even worse for the sport.

At the very least he should step aside until this legal case is settled. Yes, it may be a mess if indeed there is no succession plan in place, but we could be only a few months away from that anyway in the event that he is convicted.


For what?

Jose Sanchez kowalsky

Not a reliable or truthful witness. Bernie said it wast just an opinión. But he must agree, that it comes from a very respected and knolegable person. So it is worth a lot.


It’s unfortunate that we cannot trust the sincerity of anything Bernie says on the record, and must henceforth always suspect him of working some cynical “angle”.

He may not even be making these statements of his own “free will” so to speak, in the sense that it’s very possible he’s so weakened politically that CVC are now desperately trying to make-up for lost time (ie, the many years during which Bernie has been unreasonably resistant to succession planning, good governance, and transparency) and now they’re simply using Ecclestone as a ventriloquist’s dummy – they make him say the right things and hope third time’s a charm w/r/t previously-aborted Singapore listing of F1…

I could totally see this being the case if, for example, there is some obscure Bernie-version of a Morals Clause or Disrepute Clause in his contract w/ CVC pertaining to “‘bringing the sport of Formula 1 [or the business of CVC] into disrepute'” that they’ve [CVC] figured out how to activate and put Bernie up against the wall…

I’ll always acknowledge Bernie’s success in satisfying his lust for the pursuit of the deal, and I admit that I envy his great wealth, but that old trope about how F1 owes its growth solely to Bernie’s foresight and shark-like DNA…well, that doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

Lastly, to Bernie: you could’ve handled this so much better, and you could’ve left us/F1/the world so much more respectable a legacy than that of an almost-fallen, somewhat crippled global sports tycoon. Right, right, right…we know such things never mattered to you and probably still don’t! Jerk!


Well he is only human and at his age it is probably time for him to go. I’m not not sure who could replace him given that Christian Horner seems content to manage a race team. I suppose it will be decided by CVC as to how they want to proceed.


Clearly Bernie’s big mistake was not to beget a son and heir…

I suspect he now much regrets not devoting more time to procreating and a bit less to creating [wealth].


You don’t think Tamara will be taking over F1?


You don’t have to have a son to pass the reins to.

Claire Williams is proof of that. She seems to be doing a very good job too so far as I can tell.


So you want one of Bernie’s [mod] daughters to take over?


A GIRL! Running F1? Preposterous…… I can see it now. Pink everywhere. Grid Boys in very tight shorts. Dancing, chatting, cocktails, politeness in racing (after you…No, after You) and even honesty and apologies creeping in when there is a slight incident on the track. Theme tunes for each team to help casual viewers to recognise each car on TV, and proper colour coding of each team (Which one do you support? …The white one, with the Michael Jackson theme tune, of course!) …… And many other very sensible ideas….


You know what?

Every single one of those ideas is still better than double points 😉


LOL there is a fundamental difference in the way Claire was raised versus Ecclestone’s princesses if thats your implication.

Just like formula one has outgrown the team principal role, Bernie’s role is also redundant that will be spread over a couple positions with one head honcho, who hopefully will split the revenues with the teams more than Bernie has done so.

That being said, Bernie Ecclestone is a walking homage to a time when Formula One was full of real characters. Whatever the natural progression is, I’m sure i’ll be watching the sport every Sunday in 20 years


Well said. Claire is a sensible, down to earth, common sense, straight talking individual who isn’t chasing her own image – just like her dad.

Claire is a no nonsense racer – I respect her for that.


You’re forgetting the super secret clone program he initiated in the late nineties.


If Bernie is bothered by people judging his actions, perhaps he should have thought about that before making his choices?

I doubt he is really upset by his actions, he is more likely to be irritated by being caught out.

Still the 4.2 billion Bernie has made from F1 should help assuage his sadness…


credit when credit is due. the guy has done a great deal for the sport and has got a great deal out of it. he is an exceptional man to be running the sport so successfully for so long and at his age. there are ex sports people younger who don’t look fit enough to do half as much as ecclestone does.


Can i nominate jeremy clarkson given his record with tesla.


Good joke. I think they need somebody like Toto Wolf


No. No you can’t.


Yes I can see that working out well…

FIA: So Jeremy, we’re thinking about downsizing the V6s to V4s in five to seven…


FIA: *sigh* Back to V12s then?

JC: MORE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!


That might not be a bad thing. These are supposed to be the fastest race cars in the world.


Who is this Randome guy and why is he replying to my replies?

Have to say though I agree with him 100% 😉


Yep I knew someone would like the idea 🙂

I honestly don’t care how fast or slow they are generally – as I’ve said before I think it only really matters how fast one car is against another – but as long as we get to see some good racing every now and again I’m happy 🙂


I reckon the Big Ape was in charge of regulations in rallying during the Group B era – you know, practically unlimited regulations concerning turbocharging, supercharging, construction, fuel tank placement etc

I mean, 600 Bhp in a Metro, Pug 205, Lancia Delta et al? Only Jezza would come up with that idea……………

Top Tags