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 ??27m ($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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th January 2014, 22:47

    I’m sure there are a lot of overjoyed fans out there who think that this will be one of the best things that has happened to the sport, but I cannot help but take a much more pessimistic view of things. We know Formula 1 is lucrative, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, but whatever Bernie’s shortcomings, at least he maintained order. There is one inevitable conclusion that will arise the moment he loses control over the sport: war. Everyone has something to gain from Bernie relinquishing control – whether by choice or because he is forced to – and I am afraid that the sport will be the first casualty in the mad scramble to get as many fingers into as many pies as possible.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 16th January 2014, 23:11

      Not only war: bureaucracy. Once control is on order, there will be hierarchy. There will be levels of control, decision making, information clearance. Whoever follows Bernie will probably be some corporate fat cat who thinks bringing order into any sort of organization or process is holy.

      The reason Bernie gets his side of the deal done is because he is an entrepreneur. Despite his age and the age of the sport/FOM, he is a deal maker. Not even a car salesman; he’s the kid selling gum on the playground. Sure, the kids these days are rich kids who have to fill in tax reforms to their parents, instead of being as ‘free’ to make a deal as they were in the past..

      I’d much rather see someone like Richard Branson, Eddie Jordan or Lord Sugar in there than someone like Christian Horner, LdM or ‘some guy that did the merch for some US sports team’.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 17th January 2014, 3:03

      There is one inevitable conclusion that will arise the moment he loses control over the sport: war. Everyone has something to gain from Bernie relinquishing control – whether by choice or because he is forced to – and I am afraid that the sport will be the first casualty in the mad scramble to get as many fingers into as many pies as possible.

      Well, that is all possible. Especially if Bernie didn’t make arrangements and/or did not think about his replacement ahead of time. Let’s be realistic, he is not 30yo and it is only a matter of time before he is unable to carry out his duties to full. There should always be (and maybe there is!) a backup plan in case something like this happens.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2014, 9:53

        This is Bernie we are talking about – he has back-up plans for his back-up plans. He’s like that mad supervillain who is somehow able to execute a complex plan that not only accurately anticipates the heroes’ equally-complex plans to thwart his efforts, but incorporate them into his own plans. It’s a very frustrating thing when you read it in a novel or watch it in a film, but here it has allowed Bernie to maintain control over the sport and grow it pretty consistently.

        So of course he knows who his successor is. But any criminal case against him is going to weaken his position, so his preferred successor may not get the job.

      • Nick (@npf1) said on 17th January 2014, 13:43

        Don’t underestimate the lack of planning the typical entrepreneurial business has. Someone in my classes (I’m in business school) is doing an internship at a family business that has been going for 50 years and if the old man passes, there is literally nothing in place for who takes over what. He even got scoffed at for suggesting they spend time on that. It’s more common than you think.

  2. Nick (@npf1) said on 16th January 2014, 23:13

    Honestly, this news and the news about Ron Dennis reek more of conventional business than F1. The wrong kind of conventional business: symbolic moves that either keep the same people in power despite trying to send a message otherwise and ousting someone from power while stating that isn’t the case.

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