Ecclestone’s F1 role reduced pending trial outcomes

2014 F1 season

Bernie Ecclestone, 2011Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down as a director of Formula One as he faces the threat of legal action in Germany.

A statement issued by Formula One Group confirmed Ecclestone will retain day-to-day responsibility for the sport but will come under great control from the company’s board.

Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe and deputy chairman Donald Mackenzie will assume responsibility for signing “significant contracts and other material business arrangements”, according to the statement.

It is over three years since German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky was arrested on suspicion of receiving a ?é?ú27m ($44m) bribe from Ecclestone. Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison and dropped his appeal against the sentence last May.

Ecclestone is to be tried on bribery charges in Munich. Ongoing legal action surrounding the affair includes a case before the High Court in Britainin which media rights company Constantin Medien allege Ecclestone paid a bribe to ensure he would remain in control of the sport when it was sold to current owner CVC in 2006.

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48 comments on Ecclestone’s F1 role reduced pending trial outcomes

  1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 16th January 2014, 14:20

    I can’t work out whether this is a good thing, or a problem.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 16th January 2014, 14:28

      I doubt it’ll make much difference at the moment. I would have thought anyone standing in for him is basically going to be a stooge anyway, so his power is not really diminished. But it’s obviously not something he would have wanted to do, so certainly it would seem as if his position is under threat in a way it never has been. I wonder if the team bosses will all stick the knives in if he does get sent down.

  2. iFuel (@ifuel) said on 16th January 2014, 14:27

    Whoa, this is big news right here, could be motorsport history in the making!

  3. Bjornar Simonsen said on 16th January 2014, 14:30

    This marks the beginning of the end for Ecclestone and a decades spanning era. I my mind there is no doubt that Mr. E. is a crook, but I’m undecided whether this is good or bad for the sport. He built it to what it is, but F1 also has a lot of problems. I think much more is going on behind the curtains than what we know. No matter the charges, Ecclestone was bound to leave soon because of his age, too bad for him he has to leave in this fashion. I wonder what will happen in F1 now.

    • W (@yesyesyesandyesagain) said on 16th January 2014, 14:41

      Him leaving in this fashion is his own fault. If you are going to resort to illegal bribes to carry out your business you have to be prepared for the consequences that stem from that decision.

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 16th January 2014, 22:44

        Im sure this is not the only illegal bribe he has ever made. Maybe his entire carrier is made up of bribes and deals, who knows. Money buys everything these days including the best lawyers to protect you and to clear your name even if you “are” guilty. But time comes when one has to learn to grow up, let go and move on, otherwise it may all blow up in their face.

        • Scotto said on 20th January 2014, 3:38

          A quick look at where Bernie has chosen to hold races is another clue. No doubt Bernie would love any excuse to replace a Silverstone or Montreal with another vanity project like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, or Malaysia. It only takes a contribution to the Bambino.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 16th January 2014, 16:01

      I fail to see how F1 could be run any worse. F1 is a hugely rich sport and yet the following statements are true:

      Most fans are priced out of going to races.
      Lots of fans are unable to watch races live due to expensive pay TV deals.
      Lots of teams are struggling to make ends meet so much they take on pay drivers.
      One team (one of the richest) gets paid more than the others regardless of their finishing position.
      The most dull race on the calendar has now been made the the most important because they paid for it.
      etc etc

      The main issue is that I can’t see anyone taking over who will make decisions based on what is good for the sport as opposed to what is good for their wallet.

      • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 16th January 2014, 16:26

        Commment of the day

      • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 16th January 2014, 17:31


        The main issue is that I can’t see anyone taking over who will make decisions based on what is good for the sport as opposed to what is good for their wallet.

        I really don’t think that a well-known person is required here. Just a honest one will be a good start. The same apply for FIA presidency.

      • S2G-Unit (@s2g-unit) said on 16th January 2014, 18:35

        -People who travel abroad to races have no reasonable way of getting live timing because FOM couldnt agree on a deal with Fanvision.

        Those of you with Fanvisions, have you sold them or are you hoping it comes back to F1?

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 16th January 2014, 22:52

        The main issue is that I can’t see anyone taking over who will make decisions based on what is good for the sport as opposed to what is good for their wallet.

        I am a little confused as to the message you are trying to send. Are you in support of Bernie being replaced or against?

        For me personally, all those issues you have outlined above, need to be dealt with (be fixed) for the good of the sport. And if things stay the same (run by the same people over and over and over), nothing will ever change.

        Yes Bernie has done many good things. But his time is over, it’s time to let go and move on and let someone or “something” else run the show; hopefully not one person but a board of executives. I for one cannot wait for a day when tickets are cheaper and all teams are treated and payed equally, and all the other points you made be corrected.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 16th January 2014, 22:39

      No matter the charges, Ecclestone was bound to leave soon because of his age, too bad for him he has to leave in this fashion.

      Exactly my thoughts. If I was him, I would have thought about these issues ahead and made appropriate plans. But like most men, once they grab hold of power they find it hard to let go.

  4. sumedhvidwans (@sumedhvidwans) said on 16th January 2014, 14:45

    The string of bad news continues.

  5. Girts (@girts) said on 16th January 2014, 14:54

    I really don’t know how to feel about this. While Ecclestone remains in charge for now, it’s possible that his influence will gradually decrease and that this is the beginning of the end of his reign.

    I’ve never been a fan of Ecclestone, he seems to be a greedy, cynical and dishonest person, many of the things that he’s responsible for (unfair income distribution, too high ticket prices, moving F1 away from democratic countries, Abu Double and so on) have done damage to F1 and I’m sure that it is possible to run the sport in a better way.

    At the same time, the world is full of greedy, cynical and dishonest people, who don’t have the entrepreneurial skills and the understanding of F1 that Ecclestone possesses. F1 is a very complex sport with humongous amounts of money involved and I think there are not many people, who are capable of doing Ecclestone’s job.

    So I’ll reserve my judgement for when someone else takes Ecclestone’s place. He will not only have to be a better man, he’ll have to be an F1 fan and an outstanding businessman, too.

  6. Roald (@roald) said on 16th January 2014, 14:55

    I don’t know if I’m supposed to think it is bad news or good news.

    Pretty historic though.

  7. BJ (@beejis60) said on 16th January 2014, 15:28

    Of all this, I hope they get someone young, less greedy, but also F1-oriented so they can realize the need to lower entry fees for both the teams and those hosting the races, which should attract a larger fan base, more teams, and more host cities.

  8. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 16th January 2014, 15:32

    Will be very interesting to see how this all pans out…

  9. marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 16th January 2014, 15:57

    Just realised one of those ‘chairmen’ is Peter Brabeck, a lunatic who believes drinkable water is not a human right, and rich employers should be enforcing unlimited working hours on their employee slaves.

    Here’s a video:

    Seriously considering boycotting F1 just because of this guy.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 16th January 2014, 16:54

      Oh dear, I don’t know how they find all this characters, Bernie, Mosley and now this guy, why can’t there be a normal person in charge for a change.

    • caci99 (@caci99) said on 16th January 2014, 18:34

      My my, that really shows how dangerous the detachment from reality is. In my city there was an expression (not anymore because of “civilization”) never turn down a request for a glass of water, used when someone was traveling and knocked on a door for a glass of water, or when someone was at somebody else place to do any work.

  10. Fixy (@fixy) said on 16th January 2014, 16:05

    While he would have eventually had to step down, it’s better, I think, that it happens gradually, though it’s sad that he has been forced to do so by the situation: at least by doing so of his own will he saves some of his dignity.
    Ecclestone might have his weaknesses and downsides, but overall he was great at his job and I hope his successor[s] can keep up the good work and, why not, improve.

  11. Maciek (@maciek) said on 16th January 2014, 16:11

    This is the end, short little friend.
    I never cease being amazed at the number of people who think Ecclestone has been good for F1. He took a motor sport and turned into a gimmicky, bloated, unaffordable, unsustainable, tacky soap opera about racing. Sure, it makes billions, but just about the only good Bernie’s done is for himself and his billionaire fraternity. It’s a sign of the times, I guess, that “business growth” is unquestioningly taken to be a positive in and of itself, no matter the collateral damage, as if businesses couldn’t have a conscience. He ain’t quite gone yet, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. So good friggin’ riddance, ya corrupt, crooked little sleaze.

  12. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 16th January 2014, 16:22

    Finally, the end is near you crook! I have been screaming for years that this man is a no good cheat that has no interest in ‘the best interest for the sport’, the only thing he has ever cared about are his own pockets. Time for a fresh face with fresh ideas, time to end the corruption.

    I will admit that Bernie has done some good for the sport, however…. for all the good he has done, he has done twice the bad.

    • @force-maikel And you honestly believe someone will take his place who does have a best interest in the sport? As long as CVC Capital owns the rights they’ll put someone in charge who will continue to milk the cash cow. Bernie has done a lot of good for the sport (and he’s been part of it for many, many years), will his successor (if any) as well? I’m not so sure this is so awesome for the sport, time will tell.

      • I’m not trying to be a ****, but what are some of the good things Bernie has done for F1? I can’t think of any. Since he has been in charge F1 has gotten consistently worse in my opinion. Slowly and consistently worse. Not enough from one season to the next to make me quit after 35 years, but maybe that is his genius. Although I haven’t spent a dime on it in 10 years. It’s so frustrating to watch. At least Indy car committed suicide in a short time frame.

  13. Steven (@steevkay) said on 16th January 2014, 17:00

    With Bernie, it’s all about the devil you know; who would be the successor in this case? I would love to see F1 fall into the hands of someone who will care about the sport and its fans.

    I think most F1 fans gripe about Bernie and his ridiculous ideas, but if the next F1 director is just a suit from CVC, is it really going to be any better? Perhaps it will do well under someone with lots of motorsport experience, like Jean Todt, or others like Ari Vatanen (I know he ran for FIA presidency at some point, but lost to Todt). Then again, I don’t know enough about those guys to predict what sort of impact they would have on F1.

    Like a lot of things in F1, this will be a ‘wait and see’ situation.

  14. All I can hope for now is that Formula One actually listens to it’s fans as a result and really begins to tackle the spiralling costs issue.

    Ecclestone has been very good at fostering the sport as it has grown to the commercial giant it is, time now to let his child tackle it’s own issues and hopefully it doesn’t spiral into drug abuse.

  15. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 16th January 2014, 21:30

    Well, I think it’s time I declare my interest in taking on Bernie’s position: I nominate myself as the next Formula One Supremo!
    What can I offer?
    I do not have grey hair, and unlike some others have suggested, I do not wear a wig.
    I do not have any avaricious dependent wives, ex-wives or children.
    I do not have complicated tax affairs that require battalions of companies, trusts and accountants to obscure, obfuscate and hide behind.
    I do not intend to debase or prostitute F1 racing to the level of WWF in search of even more money.
    I will not deal with repressive regimes or countries merely in order to maximise my earnings.
    I will not grant any one team or individual any significant advantage in terms of remuneration or influence over any other team or individual.
    I will not seek to influence or alter the outcome of future races or seasons by means of rules or points amendments without giving three years notice and inviting open debate.
    I will not grant an apparent monopoly or stranglehold on the design of F1 racing circuits to any company or organisation.
    I will answer any question placed before me in as honest, straightforward and complete manner as I am able to do so.
    I am not in any way a devious, manipulative or political animal.
    I am taller.

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