Bernie Ecclestone, Singapore, 2010

Ecclestone denies bribing Gribkowsky

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Bernie Ecclestone, Singapore, 2010In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone argues he did not bribe German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky as more details of the case emerge.

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Ecclestone denies ‘bribe? in Formula One sale (The Telegraph)

“Mr Ecclestone denies that it was a bribe and says that Mr Gribkowsky threatened to tell HM Revenue & Customs that he controlled the [Bambino] trust if the $44m was not paid.”

Razia not giving up on F1 (Sky)

“There should be the step forward from GP2 to F1, but with these kinds of budget issues it is difficult to get promoted. So, for sure I am looking for opportunities – even IndyCar would be good if I got the chance. But it is all about getting the chance and if there is a good opportunity coming up I will take it for sure.”

Memories of The Old Man (ESPN)

“The news value may have been zero (the proposed signing had long-since been announced) but it was an extraordinary occasion simply to witness. Here was a perfect demonstration of the Old Man’s implicit power. Even the normally voluble Balestre was subdued. Bernie, of course, scarcely uttered a word.”

In praise of… TSL Timing (Motorsport Musings)

“Perhaps I am just easily pleased – I don?t think I am – but I can?t understate how essential this service is for anyone who is partial for a bit of national motor racing and is keen to know what is actually going on when they are trundling around the circuit.”

Giedo van der Garde City Racing Rotterdam helmetcam (Caterham via YouTube)


Comment of the day

Thomas says Daniel Ricciardo deserves the Red Bull seat:

Ricciardo really deserves that seat, he has been blisteringly quick in a Toro Rosso and it will be interesting to see him in something that doesn?t eat its tyres.

He has achieved the highest ever dry qualifying result in Toro Rosso history and that includes when they used to be Adrian Newey cars.
Thomas (@Infi24r)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Harry Palmer!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Ronnie Peterson won the Austrian Grand Prix for Lotus 40 years ago today. Peterson had let team mate Emerson Fittipaldi pass him, as he was chasing Jackie Stewart in the championship, but the Brazilian driver’s Lotus failed with five laps to go.

Stewart took second and Carlos Pace gave Surtees their second and final podium finish with third place.

59 comments on “Ecclestone denies bribing Gribkowsky”

  1. I don’t really understand what Razia wants in F1, he isn’t that talented, neither did he have enough money even for a Marussia seat, and I don’t think he deserves better than that.

    By the way: did any of you watch the DTM race today at the short version of the Nürburgring? Robert Wickens scored an incredible victory after passing 2(!) cars on the outside of turn 2. I think that guy deserves a seat in F1, he’s proven his qualities in F2, GP3, FR3.5, now in DTM… And I think a North American driver would be great commercially for any team, and he’s also a very likeable guy.

    1. I watched the MotoGP from Indianapolis , great race, IMO thats how F1 should be run.

      1. You thought the MotoGP was exciting? Other than the last two or three laps of that race, I’ve found the entire season has been incredibly tedious to watch.

        1. Is it me or are the bikes too small for the track :-)


          I have an old friend who wanted to become a superbikes engineer. He didn’t, instead he opened a fish and chips shop that was good enough to be included in Good Food magazine.

          1. @full-throttle-f1 I agree, the spectacle is nowhere near as grand as with an F1 car I think! It works fine on a narrow track such as Laguna Seca but they look disproportionate to say Austin.

      2. Yep those ding-dong battles were satisfying to watch, like a really good Grand Prix.

        I wish F1 would lose the team radio and let ’em race. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but I remember Max Mosley proposed just that for F1 once (probably a negotiating ploy to get another rule through)…

        I can imagine Lewis Hamilton going at it like Marquez – his performance reminds me of Lewis in 2007.

    2. I didn’t see the DTM race, but I was pleased to learn that Wickens had scored his first victory there. I think it was two years ago that a couple of talented young single-seater racers without a budget – Wickens, Vietoris and Mehri – made the step into DTM. In their first year, not much was heard of them anymore, but now it seems they have gotten the hang of tin-top racing with Vietoris third yesterday, and him and Wickens respectively third and second in the championship, too.

      Although it’s good to see Wickens back on the radar, who is going to give him a chance in F1? The top teams don’t need to look outside F1 for talented drivers, and the smaller teams, who could benefit from a talented driver like Wickens, need their drivers to bring sponsorship money, the lack of which landed them in DTM in the first place. Perhaps the best Robert Wickens can hope for is to get back into F1 through Mercedes, perhaps starting with a young driver’s test – provided they are allowed to run one next year ;-)

      1. Well, from next year Williams will be using a Mercedes engine, and if Maldonado really wants to move to a bigger team, there might be a place for Robert, and Toto Wolff is still a shareholder in the team, he often comes watching DTM races this year, so if he has the eye for talent, Wickens could come lucky.

    3. @hunocsi It’s indeed a travesty that a man of Wickens’ talent is not in Formula 1. IMO all of the teams, big and small alike should pay attention to him.

      But having said that, if Di Resta had managed to move from DTM to F1, I see no reason for someone like Wickens who is arguably an even bigger talent to do the same

      I found the video from yesterday race of the moment you speak of: a lesson by R. Wickens on how to go from 5th to 2nd in 30 seconds, including overtaking 2 cars round the outside in one corner. It is what has won him the race in the end

    4. Because coming second in last years GP2 series is a pretty easy thing to do… Not.
      Though it did take him a while to do it.

    5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      19th August 2013, 14:53

      @hunocsi – Completely agree about Wickens. He did a hugely impressive test for the then Lotus-Renault team in 2011, shortly after taking the FR3.5 title; a series that has arguably produced better young drivers of late than GP2. In the DTM he took the now statutory shaky first year in the series, but is now easily one of the series’ front runners, which is high praise in a series that features such a eclectic mix of touring car and single seater stars. Equally high praise is that he is now arguably Mercedes’ fastest driver, disposing Gary Paffet, who for all of the “nearly, but not quite” insults chucked at him is still a very good racing driver. With Williams currently perusing the Mercedes DTM squad for a driver to enroll into a young driver programme following their engine tie-up with Mercedes, I’d advise them to forget Daniel Juncadella and get themselves a Wickens.

      1. Agreed, I would say Juncadella needs more time to develop, Vietoris has always been quick over a lap too. Merhi needs more time, he was battling with Susie Wolff in his first year as they were team-mates. Wickens vs. Bianchi would’ve been a great line up at Marussia!

        Razia and even Valsecchi have done enough for me to deserve a backmarker seat, by coming 1-2 in the GP2 Series. They’ve polished themselves into complete drivers over time (after jumping too quickly to the F3000 levels), rather than win at each step on the ladder (Calado, Gutierrez, Nasr etc.).

        Razia last year had a similar time to Nasr this year – I think Nasr definitely deserves a shot soon and he is still young – problem for Razia is that Nasr might take all the available Brazilian sponsorship and place in F1 once Massa moves aside. If Razia paid half the sponsorship deal on offer last year (£12m) to secure half a test and then got booted for Bianchi, that’s a very harsh deal IMO and reflects poorly on the team (tbh, they need the money too). I imagine it was something similar to no money came forwards and then there was a delay, and Bianchi was quickly brought in, precipitating talks with Ferrari. Nasr’s problem will be getting links with a team – he doesn’t seem to have any at the moment. I would have thought there are plenty of teams out there requiring a cash boost, e.g. Sauber, Marussia, and he could fit well with these teams.

    6. I would love to see Wickens get a call up to F1 in ’14 or ’15. He’s sorely overlooked as a future F1 prospect, and on his merit, he should be among the front-runners for a future F1 drive.

    7. Michael Brown (@)
      19th August 2013, 19:52

      As a Canadian I really wanted Wickens to get a drive in F1, especially after he won FR 3.5 back in 2011 (Vergne, the runner-up, debuted the next year in F1). I hope he’ll still be able to get into F1 after what he’s done in DTM.

  2. Of course Bernie will deny bribing Gribkowsky….he’s Bernie, what can you expect?

    1. Bernie is so worried about the Tax man investigating histhat trust that he paid a guy GBP.44million to keep quiet, lucky for him the Tax office don’t read newspapers.

      1. The tax evasion squad you could count on one hand. That’s why so much takes place! Bernie would be the first port of call you would imagine, although he’s probably never been ruffled by them.

    2. No, one of the saviest negotiators on the planet paid $44m so that someone wouldn’t make an untrue allegation against him to the tax authorities.

      Totally believable.

      1. I know you intended that last comment to be sarcastic, but it is actually quite believable. Even if Ecclestone had the cleanest books in the world, the threat of going to the authorities is a real one. We’re talking about complex financial accounting, dealing with trusts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. If reported, the tax authorities would be obligated to investigate, and given the scale and complexity of the finances, that investigation would take a long time. And until it was resolved, Ecclestone would be seriously limited in what he could do. With all of this happening at a time when Ecclestone was trying to secure the future of Formula 1, the slightest hint of an audit would deter any potential investors, if not frighten them away completely.

        If Gribkowsky did indeed make that threat, then he knew exactly what it meant for any deal Ecclestone was trying to reach. If he had followed through on it, then it stands to reason that he also would have leaked details of the audit to potential buyers as well.

        1. “Gribowski…….would have leaked details of the audit to potential buyers”

          To what purpose? Have you totally misunderstood that Gribowsky was working for the seller, what would he gain (apart from a bribe) if a party other than CVC purchased the shareholding?

  3. COTD: I wouldn’t call Valencia qualifying 2008 wet.

    1. Indeed; IIRC Ricciardo hasn’t been higher than 6th either so he’s not achieved the highest ever grid spot, he’s equalled it. Adrian Newey cars of that period weren’t exactly something to shout about either…

      1. Ricciardo qualified fifth at Silverstone. This years Toro Rosso isn’t something to shout about either.

        1. He qualified 5th due Webber’s penalty.

          1. My bad, it was Di Resta.

        2. @aced with the penalty of course as has been mentioned.

          What I was meaning on the topic of Newey’s cars is that during that period having a car designed by Newey meant far from the same thing as it does now or as it did with McLaren or especially Williams. So I am very aware this year’s Toro Rosso isn’t something to shout about.

          I’m not trying to take away from Ricciardo’s achievements, but the COTD has omitted to mention key details.

    2. JP (@jonathanproc)
      19th August 2013, 8:23

      Vettel qualified 6th in that race. Ricciardo qualified 5th at Silverstone this year, albeit with the help of Di Resta’s disqualification.

    3. Very hard to compare the performances – however it’s enough to classify Dani as a good qualifier and I think he would be able to push Vettel on Saturday’s even more than Kimi would.

      It’s still a rumor but if Dani gets the drive then COTD is right – he deserves the chance.

      1. I think he could match Vettel in a year or too. I’d love it if he beat Vettel. Daniel is a nice guy, it would be great to see him win a race and maybe a championship.

    4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      19th August 2013, 15:19

      @mike-dee – OK, Ricciardo equaled the best dry qualifying spot of a Toro Rosso and improved upon the best dry grid spot of a Toro Rosso. I really don’t think you can take anything away from Ricciardo’s performances, especially as Ricciardo did that in what is probably the 7th fastest car on the grid. However, in the later stages of 2008 Toro Rosso really found speed with the STR3, and was probably the 5th fastest cars on the grid, behind the Ferraris, McLarens, BMWs and Renaults. OK, Newey’s early Red Bull chassis were heavily restricted by budget, but they were still very aerodynamically efficient and the way the Ferrari engine in the STR3 soaked heat into the rear tyres made it very good in the wet as demonstrated at the 2008 Italian GP. People misconceive that race as a performance harking back to the 1984 Monaco GP, and an arrival of a true great, but what everyone forgets is that the underrated Sebastien Bourdais was fourth on the grid, and had he not stalled on the grid, he displayed pace during the race good enough to have made it a Toro Rosso 1-2. Put simply, these customer Newey cars were half decent in the dry, and very quick in wet, so being able to match Vettel’s best grid spot in the dry in a modern Toro Rosso is a fine achievement. OK, we haven’t got another Vettel on our hands with Ricciardo, but he’s certainly a strong talent, and in my mind he’s now commandeered di Resta’s second place spot on the podium of up-and-coming drivers. Second place behind a certain chap I expect to see in red next year…

      1. @william-brierty I’m not sure I agree that it could’ve been a potential Toro Rosso 1-2 but other than that I agree – Ricciardo is not a shaby driver at all: I don’t think he’s as good as Vettel absolutely but he can definitely fit in Mark Webber’s place.

        I also share your longing for that driver in red ;)

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          19th August 2013, 16:44

          @vettel1 Bourdais’ laptimes throughout that race placed him as the second fastest car on track, behind Vettel. Had Bourdais started in his grid position he’d post probably have been on the podium, probably in P2, either that or he would’ve crashed out of overwhelming surprise of the promise of a good result. In terms of Ricciardo, I definitely agree that he’d “fit” Webber’s place in the team, however I see now only continuation of the same status quo in the team rather than any kind of inter-team challenge to Vettel’s supremacy, especially after this announcement. Real shame, it would’ve been epic. Maybe the prospect of Alonso having to look over his shoulder at Ferrari next year could compensate…

          1. @william-brierty I don’t think Räikkönen-Alonso is particularly likely either: Ferrari have previously been very reluctant to have “two roosters” as they coined it. What I would find very interesting though is if Vettel were to move to Mercedes later in his career – I don’t think that’s a very far-fetched proposal.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            19th August 2013, 17:03

            @vettel1 I was actually talking about Alonso-Hulkenberg, which I’d expect to be much more competitive than the Alonso-Massa line-up, or at least after Nico nestles down. Note to self – be less vague – that’s the second misunderstanding I’ve had in as many minutes! I can see Vettel going to Mercedes too, maybe even partnering Hamilton. Now THAT I want to see!

          3. @william-brierty ah right I see, I though you were referring to the Räikkönen-Alonso rumours ;) I don’t see that as particularly likely but Alonso-Hülkenberg I would expect would be one of the more competitive line-ups and certainly one of the best. If Hulk’s junior record is anything to go by he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on!

            I absolutely agree: I think Hamilton-Vettel in a competitive team (as I expect Mercedes to be) would be an absolutely brilliant partnership: qualifying would be joyous to watch!

      2. @william-brierty not sure if Ferrari will sign Bianchi, at least it would be a huge surprise for me, because they haven’t signed a driver with less than 3 years F1 experience in ages.

        My guess is, they’ll try to secure Bianchi a seat at Sauber first and if Ferrari replaces Massa next year then it will with Hülkenberg.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          19th August 2013, 16:55

          @tmf42 – I was actually talking about Hulkenberg. I also highly doubt Bianchi will go to Sauber, he already has a foot in with Force India, so if they are looking to replace Sutil, which they are, it’ll be between Bianchi and Calado, the later of which I expect to be nursed into a FP1 role initially next year anyway. Sauber will either fill Hulkenberg’s empty seat with Sirotkin or Frijns, and before long I expect them to realize the fact that putting Sirotkin in the car next year would be idiotic. Frijns will be alongside Gutierrez next year, and Sirotkin will make plenty of FP1 appearances, and maybe even a race appearance in Sochi, before taking Gutierrez’s place in 2014. That way they still have a shed load of Mexican money in 2013, and they’d be keeping the Russians happy by allowing Sirotkin frequent on-track appearances. I do hope this crystal ball of mine is accurate…

      3. I always wondered if Ricciardo simply sets his car up more for one lap pace, and Vergne for a setup that’s good in the race with the extra fuel loads. Ricciardo’s impressive Q in Bahrain last year turned straight into a midfield position after lap 1 – but you can definitely see he has upped his game since the Webber rumours started to break after Malaysia. He’s really put in that extra push toget into Q3 regularly, and this bodes well for a RB seat, doing well under pressure. With Ricciardo, I think we have another Webber, which is why he is absolutely perfect for RB to take over from Webber. The only difference is that they have totally opposite PR approaches!

        If money wasn’t an issue, I have a feeling McLaren may have taken a Force India driver for this year, don’t know if it would have been the Hulk or PdR, Hulk would have been good for Mercedes, PdR to continue the British team front, although with sponsorship from GB (Vodafone etc) falling this was never going to happen.

  4. Is it me or does it seem like Van Der Garde is driving like he’s never experienced the power of an f1 car before?

    It looks like he’s taking it steady then whenever he goes full power a few times and his body reacts like I would:”arggghhhhh!!! this is so much power this is insane!” and he backs off the throttle not once going flat out through the gears

    1. After Maldonado and Kobayashi’s incidents, can you blame him? :P

    2. It’s a helmet camera (different perspective) and a city environment with spectators around and no appropriate safety measures for going flat out. So it is you.

    3. he’s on wet tyres, you don’t get a lot of grip with them on a dry surface

  5. To be honest Razia I don’t think you have the outright talent to justify getting into F1 without the funds. He’s not bad but nor is he spectacular I’d say (a safer bet that Chilton nontehless however)…

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    19th August 2013, 9:09

    Re: Geido VDG demo run:

    Dem wets be hurting.

    1. wrongwaystreet
      19th August 2013, 10:57

      Not a bad race track, but I’m a bit worried about the 2nd half of the lap.

  7. Regarding Riccardo going to RB, cannot see it being interesting in the slightest, to be frank. Theres not a chance on Earth that he is going to turn up in a team Vettel has been at for years, in a car Vettel is used to, and beat him. At very best, he’ll be another Webber, quick enough to occupy the place(s) close behind Vettel. The only interesting thing to keep an eye on will be wether he’ll carry over Webbers mechanical issues…

    1. The only interesting thing to keep an eye on will be wether he’ll carry over Webbers mechanical issues…

      So what, you mean less race-ending failures caused by mechanical problems than Vettel? That wouldn’t be a bad thing!

      I don’t fully agree with the rest of your comment either: yes it is unlikely he’ll beat Vettel as he has acclimatised within the team and Vettel is likely a faster outright driver but in qualifying Ricciardo ain’t shabby – I fully expect him to nick a couple of higher grid positions from Vettel (perhaps not immediately). I also think being in the same team as a world champion can only help him improve his game; I expect to see his race pace improve drastically provided he gets the drive of course!

      1. “So what, you mean less race-ending failures caused by mechanical problems than Vettel? That wouldn’t be a bad thing!”

        Yeah, it would be great actually

  8. According to Turun Sanomat, Kimi’s manager Steve Robertson confirmed to them today that Kimi will not join Red Bull. It’s 99% certain he’ll continue in F1 but there’s no contract in place yet.

    1. ESPN refers to TS in their article:

      Feel a bit disappointed as a fan of Kimi. Can only hope that Lotus will be strong next season too and fight for victories more often.

      1. He could still go to Ferrari… Look at this article below on their website from today, the talk about him quite a lot and high praise:
        Small things like these can sometimes mean something bigger.

      2. Perhaps the Ferrari deal might not have been too far off accuracy though. I wouldn’t go to the red if I was Kimi either, but I’m not Kimi…

        1. Kimi will join Ferrari, taking Massa’s place. At least that’s what i hope will happen, because if he stays at Lotus and Ferrari retain Massa, it’ll be the most anti-climatic silly season ever.

          1. Peter Windsor tweeted this morning that Kimi is in line to swap seats with Alonso following Fernando’s fall out with di Montezemolo. Not sure how much truth there is to that (or whether I’m reading too much into it), but Windsor is one of the most reliable F1 journos I know of.

          2. @jackysteeg that’d be a massive upset – imagine them ditching Alonso, who undoubtably has carried them forwards the last few seasons, in favour of a driver they’d previously sacked for underperforming! Question is in that circumstance though where would Alonso go? Red Bull seems far fetched, so straight swap?

          3. Renault seems to be the fallback for Alonso judging from McLaren in 2007…

          4. @vettel1 Not if he can bring Santander to Lotus… I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Enstone as he loves that team and the swap would be very likely if James Allison wouldn’t have moved just now to Ferrari.

          5. @jackysteeg, I also saw Windsor’s tweet, but I find Alonso to Lotus very unlikely. For all their problems, Alonso in Ferrari has mounted two championship challenges in his first three seasons with Ferrari, and this one started out promising too, while the Enstone team hasn’t challenged for the title since 2006, and it remains to be seen whether they will this year, with their top designer leaving. Also, a return to Enstone would feel like a defeat for Alonso to me.

            If Fernando jumps ship, I could only imagine he would want to move to Red Bull. Since Red Bull is unlikely to want him, I think Fernando will stay put. Also, how bad is the internal strife in Ferrari really? Alonso made one clumsy remark, and LdM replied to it. Surely they are not going to split over that?

          6. Jack (@jackisthestig)
            19th August 2013, 23:57

            Surely Lotus can’t afford Alonso or Raikkonen next season.

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