Ecclestone bribe trial close to settlement

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Bernie Ecclestone, 2013In the round-up: Witnesses at Bernie Ecclestone’s bribery have been told not to attend next week as the case may be settled.

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Settlement of German Ecclestone bribery case possible – court (Reuters)

“‘It is possible that there will be a settlement,’ a spokeswoman for the district court told Reuters, adding the court had told witnesses due to appear in the trial next week that they need not come.”

Finish line in sight for Ecclestone bribery case (The Telegraph)

“Prosecutors may withdraw charges during certain criminal trials in Germany if all parties agree on an appropriate settlement, although the criteria are very strict. Ecclestone could be allowed to avoid further trial ‘in return for payment of an agreed sum of money to a charitable institution or the treasury’.”

Horner: Kvyat has been sensational (Autosport)

“He has been sensational and has been the rookie of the season so far.”

Open article Horner surprised by Mercedes stance (Crash)

“I think they’re in a situation where they’ve done very well and let the guys race openly this year, so it would then seem strange when they are racing each other again to say let one run his fastest strategy.”

Lewis: “It’s not the times of ease that show who you are – it’s the times of adversity” (Mercedes)

“I’m very, very light at the moment, but the car is a little lighter since the removal of the FRIC system so I can now put on a bit of weight – muscle, of course, not fat! It won’t just be all gym and no beach, though. I’m sure I’ll do a bit of both. I need to recharge my batteries so I won’t be going crazy with the exercise, but I feel like a stick at the moment and it’ll be nice to bulk up a bit. Next year the weight limit will be going up by ten kilos too, so I’m thinking I can afford to put on a few pounds!”

A united team, better able to react quickly (Ferrari)

“Montezemolo and Mattiacci wanted to meet with the technicians, engineers, drivers and other team members to reinforce the message relating to the cornerstones on which the Scuderia’s resurgence is to be based. They are greater efficiency and speed in the time taken to react and in making decisions, a bolder approach to risk taking, the need for people to take responsibility for their own actions and a greater sharing of information between the various production departments.”

The First Time – with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen (F1)

“What colour was your first helmet?
KM: It was in my dad’s colours – black and yellow – because I used his old helmet.”

Daniel Ricciardo’s been the revelation of Formula One season so far (The Times, subscription required)

“In a knee-jerk reaction to the low turnout at the German Grand Prix, there was a call for reform. The mission: to find out what the fans want and how to spice up the show. The answer? Put a bunch of old men in a room for a chat. Heavens to Betsy, there was even the suggestion – now, thankfully, dismissed – that Flavio Briatore should be brought back to head up a task force.”

Why It Would Make Sense For Disney To Buy Formula One (Forbes)

“If Disney were to take over F1 it would be no bad thing on a number of levels. It would bring marketing expertise and would give F1 a higher profile in the United States where the series has been trying to gain ground against local rival NASCAR.”

Formula One Teams Push for a Data Edge (The Wall Street Journal)

“Red Bull is using the fibre-optic data network to try to give its racing cars an advantage. During a race, 100 telemetry sensors in the car relay metrics like speed, pressure and air flow in seven to 10 milliseconds from the Silverstone circuit to data analysts at both its Milton-Keynes factory and wind tunnel in Bedford, both in southern England, as well as engine manufacturer, Renault SA, in Viry, eastern France, some 400 kilometres away.”

F1 2014 and Beyond… Your Questions Answered (Codemasters)

“Last year we featured classic content as the sport itself hadn’t changed a great deal and we wanted to offer a different experience alongside the main 2013 content. However, seeing as 2014 has seen masses of changes to the sport itself, which is providing a different F1 experience for this year’s game and the fact that we are also working on a new generation F1 game, we’ve had to take a break from classic content this year. Don’t despair though, classic content is something we’re still very interested in and will explore again later in the series.”

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Comment of the day

It isn’t just the drivers’ response to team orders which can vary, as Antifia points out:

Never a fan of team orders, I’m happy it was not followed in the last grand prix (so I won’t be raging if Rosberg returns the favour).

What grates with me though is not so much the inconsistency of the drivers’ behaviour when faced with these orders as it is the inconsistency of the fans. When Webber decided not to follow the orders in Silverstone, a lot of people praised him for that. When Vettel did the same, they booed him all the way to India – literally.

And then there is David Coulthard… so team orders have to be given by the team principal, never the driver’s engineer? Since when? Most of the calls above were initiated by the engineers (team principals only getting involved after the driver becomes recalcitrant). Not with Lewis though.
Antifia

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daniel, Nefer and Gilles De Wilde!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

John Surtees claimed the first victory of his championship season on this day 50 years ago on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

However Graham Hill, who finished second, continued to lead the championship with 32 points to Jim Clark’s 30, with Surtees further back on 19 but poised to mount a surprise bid for the title over the final rounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wklHNH-_oag

Image © Ferrari/Jamey Price / James Moy Photography

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70 comments on Ecclestone bribe trial close to settlement

  1. Seppo (@helava) said on 2nd August 2014, 0:21

    “Montezemolo and Mattiacci wanted to meet with the technicians, engineers, drivers and other team members to reinforce the message relating to the cornerstones on which the Scuderia’s resurgence is to be based. They are greater efficiency and speed in the time taken to react and in making decisions, a bolder approach to risk taking, the need for people to take responsibility for their own actions and a greater sharing of information between the various production departments.”

    The biggest problem Ferrari has has little to do with greater efficiency, speed in decision-making, etc. The biggest problem Ferrari has is that institutionally-speaking, they aren’t willing to actually *do* what it takes to make bold, risky changes. Oh, sure, you can say that they’ve spent lots of $$, and they’ve hired plenty of good people (James Allison seemed to be a huge step in the right direction). But the *only* thing, in the end, that matters is that Ferrari’s way of resolving their problems is to publicly put someone on the chopping block and fire them.

    Yes, on the surface, this seems like “the need for people to take responsibility for their own actions,” but what it *actually* means is that “if you take a bold risk and it doesn’t work out, you will be fired and publicly humiliated.” Which is another way of saying, “do not take a bold risk.”

    As long as Montezemolo & Co. feel like the best solution to the team’s problems is to publicly fire anyone involved in the production of a substandard car, their team will be afraid, technical expertise will continue to churn out, they will not actually *learn* from their mistakes, and they’ll be unable to move forward. Period. Until they can change the culture of blame, they’ll be a team of also-rans and nothing more, history be damned.

    Which would be a damn shame.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:15

      It has been ever thus at Ferrari (Schumacher years excepted).

      • Michel S. (@hircus) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:47

        It seems that that period of dominance is the exception that proves the rule indeed. Schumacher brought in his winning team from Benetton, and they produce good-to-great cars all throughout from the get go (the 1996 F310 car wasn’t great but that was a legacy Barnard design).

    • Orangutan said on 2nd August 2014, 6:15

      Ferrari have been known to sack people for publicly criticising them so why change now, but let’s be realistic, this is not a knee jerk reaction. They have actually been uncharacteristically patient, waiting for a performance improvement which simply hasn’t happened. I think if I was being paid their wages, being transported from country to country I would expect to get fired for under performing. Winning is their target and they’re paid to do a competent job.

    • Fletch (@fletchuk) said on 2nd August 2014, 12:21

      +1 COTD

  2. Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 2nd August 2014, 0:39

    So Bernie is gonna crawl free again, admittedly at a price, but a peanut compared to his assets and earnings. It’s time high profile tax avoiders had real pressure and constriction applied to them, there’s absolutely no way of justifying it (in this country anyways) yet people still prioritise greed over substance and the collective gains; Bernie is just the tip of the iceberg.

    It’s also about this drivers’ weight issue was addressed. There’s no denying the disadvantage the Hulk has over Massa weight-wise. I remember some coined the idea that the driver and his/her seat must be equal to all the others; achieved attaching weight for lighter drivers and some on. It’s dangerous and frankly a bit nutty the way some people are slimming down this year more than ever, Sutil didn’t even take water onboard to save weight!

    In regards to COTA
    Totally agree that consistency definitely wavers in fans’ reactions to team orders deployment. Although I must say there’s definitely elements of a pantomime on the track; fans don’t always react to incidents on track with justice as a first priority, sometimes it comes down to driver preferences. I found myself relishing Hamilton’s defense of Rosberg least week even though I thought he quite clearly ran him off the road, it was wrong but it’s another position for Ham.

    Also ‘Booed all the way to India’ Hahaha

    • Michel S. (@hircus) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:49

      Equalizing driver weight with personal ballast is a brilliant idea. Make sure these ballasts are put near the driver’s CoG. Better than simply raising the minimum weight limit, since that still favors lighter drivers (by allowing the team to strategically place ballasts).

    • Orangutan said on 2nd August 2014, 6:17

      Bernie was in court for bribery and now bribery has solved his problem.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 2nd August 2014, 11:22

      So Bernie is gonna crawl free again, admittedly at a price, but a peanut compared to his assets and earnings

      I agree with that. According to Forbes, his net worth is $4.2 billions. He has offered to pay Bayerische Landesbank $33.6 million to settle the case. I do not want to see the old man imprisoned but less than 1% of one’s wealth is not an adequate punishment for such a crime.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 2nd August 2014, 11:27

      Sorry, according to the latest news, Ecclestone has “negotiated a $100 million (£59.43 million) settlement with the state prosecutor”. But I do not believe it is enough either, $1 billion would probably be a more appropriate amount in Bernie’s case.

      • pxcmerc (@pcxmerc) said on 4th August 2014, 10:03

        His punishment should fit the “crime.” not how much money he has accumulated. Fining people based on their income is persecution, not prosecution. The only thing this kind of affair reveals, is that if you have more money, you can risk more and get away with more, and as long as people obsess over money and toil away their time on this planet for money, nothing will really change in this regard.

        • greg-c (@greg-c) said on 5th August 2014, 5:47

          +1 agree with @pcxmerc

          gruboswki got nailed for taking the bribe, Bernie made squillions for himself and friends by giving the bribe,

          How can Bernie walk away from this by tossing some change in the hat ?

          I’m guessing the money he bribed Grubowski wasn’t his anyway?

    • Bernie: The Artful/ Prison Dodger.

  3. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd August 2014, 0:40

    What grates with me though is not so much the inconsistency of the drivers’ behaviour when faced with these orders as it is the inconsistency of the fans. When Webber decided not to follow the orders in Silverstone, a lot of people praised him for that. When Vettel did the same, they booed him all the way to India – literally.

    The problem with that kind of discussions is that many people love cheering for a driver, or a team, and others just love racing. Personally, I don’t care who wins, as long as the race is a straight fight between drivers.

    I said back then, and I repeat it now, as a Webber fan, he got what he always asked for: fair treatment, and let the boys race. And he failed to keep Vettel behind. Tough luck, as Seb would say.

    Why should I feel bad about that? what they did that day between the two was just superb racing (alas with the team radio in the way ruining it, just like Seb vs Fernando at Silverstone).

    It’s not me, I love racing. If the races happen to be won by a driver I like, much better. But I think it’s quite fair for the opposite to happen: people are passionate, and they want it their way. You want your team to win no matter what, you want your driver to win no matter what.

    • I think the main problem people have with the Malaysia incident was that Mark was told to keep his engine down and drive more slowly, and he was told that Seb would do the same. Of course, Sebastian didn’t and Mark was a sitting duck. It seemed less like simple disobedience and more like being stabbed in the back when you weren’t looking. If the order was simply to “save fuel and tyres, but you’re allowed to race” then there would be no problem. The fact that Red Bull tried to influence the result is wrong and I think that the drivers should have it out at all times. After all, they are the ones who drive the cars.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:17

        @ladekoya Seb kept the engine up, Mark could’ve done the same. But he didn’t.

        What did Mark expect, really? considering his own actions at Silverstone 2011 and Brazil 2012… he saw the guy approaching, and tried to defend. But when he lost, he just kept it low and Seb vanished in the horizon. That was admiting defeat, admiting that no matter what he did, Seb would do better… and it probably had a lot to do with the fact that Mark had already decided to retire.

        Whatever the case, that day, he just wasn’t hungry enough.

        • I agree that he was being hypocritical in this situation, especially after what he did in Brazil when he wasn’t fighting for the championship. However, I don’t think it was a matter of hunger. I think that he would have fought Seb if he had the fuel to do so, but he didn’t, and Seb did. This also explains why the team came under fire as it looked like they had given Seb the license to go faster while telling Mark that he couldn’t, especially when they didn’t tell Seb to give the place back.

          Honestly I think we can all agree that in any of these situations, team orders mess things up.

      • Michel S. (@hircus) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:51

        Yeah, reminds me of Villeneuve Sr. vs Pironi

      • Tim (@grez76) said on 2nd August 2014, 6:37

        It wasn’t fuel or tyres, it was the reliability problems of the KERS. Due to the amount of problems the RB suffered with their KERS packaging they had to err on the side of caution when the points seemed in the bag.

        How would have things looked if Seb’s KERS had caught fire a lap later, after disobeying orders to turn it down?

        I don’t blame Seb, he’s definitely a racer, although Mark also did the right thing, I believe. Ironic that Mark ended up with the lion’s share of KERS DNF’s that season.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd August 2014, 13:54

      I don’t know why it would grating to witness inconsistency from the fans surrounding team orders. Isn’t it natural? All kinds of orders have all kinds of connotations depending on when they are given, to whom, at what point in the season, under what circumstances. Sometimes they’re quite understandable by most, while other times few agree.

      I suspect MW had more support for disobeying the team order because he was perceived as the underdog, in the same way sometimes on this site the dotw was not the pole and race winner but rather someone who did more with less equipment. And many did agree with SV disobeying the team in Malaysia 13 as it showed WDC level conviction, while I didn’t, as MW was a sitting duck, and SV didn’t own his decision immediately but rather looked sheepish after the race like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and the tension within the team could be cut with a knife.

  4. Gareth J (@gjessopp) said on 2nd August 2014, 0:59

    I think team orders have their place. If one driver is fighting of the championship with a rival team, then I think the team mate should be doing their best to assist in that if they are themselves not fighting. In the Rosberg/ Hamilton case, they are the only two drivers who are realistically going to win the championship, and to ask them to aid one another in a race is, in my mind absurd.

    I’m not a Hamilton fan, but I did not disregard him for refusing to aid Rosberg. Good call on that front I think.

    • schooner (@schooner) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:35

      That sums it up nicely. Most of the (controversial) team order situations we’ve witnessed in recent years have been between drivers where only one of them had a statistical shot at the WDC, or one of them already had it pretty well sewn up. From here on out, Mercedes (with the WCC all but in their pocket) simply cannot ask either driver to do the other one any favors.

      • Breno (@austus) said on 2nd August 2014, 3:38

        If you’re not fighting for the championship and your teammate is, it’s obvious you are gonna be beaten by some margin, it’s not like holding up once or twice in 20 races will flip the score.

        The best you can do really is let the guy past, out of a sudden you are a team player, you might get a favor back in the future, who knows; otherwise, you are in the team’s (and the number one’s) way.

        Ideally team orders shouldnt be stupid, like Mercedes in Malasya 2013, where Rosberg actually had a shot at the Red Bulls.

  5. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:26

    That Forbes article is very interesting. The notion of Disney owning Formula 1 does seem a bit daft at first, but it’s actually not that bad an idea. Disney’s interests go well beyond children’s films and theme parks, and they certainly know how to bring in an audience. They could possibly do a much better job at promoting the sport than the current owners, and that’s probably the biggest obstacle for bringing in new audiences rather than on-track action.

    Having said that, it’s hard to see how the financial imbalance of the sport could be solved by the very company who created Scrooge McDuck, who is pretty much a cartoon equivalent of Ecclestone himself.

    • pxcmerc (@pcxmerc) said on 4th August 2014, 10:09

      having Disney own F1 would be worse than Dorna owning MotoGP. Their news corp, ABC, is mindless and offensive propaganda, and their programming is less interesting than what Ferrari are doing with their cars. It’s better for F1 if it stays closer to the heart (UK) of where F1 is produced. F1 is already getting ridiculous, it can get much much worse though. The movie The Running Man seems to be the direction televised entertainment is going these days, which is why I don’t own a Television.

  6. HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:31

    Bernie- I pay all my taxes but it was worth $44million not to be investigated.
    Bernie- I didn’t pay a bribe but I will pay $100million not to be investigated.
    Bernie- See, I am totally innocent.

    Oh dear, still $100million seems a little more just, even if it is less than 2% of Bernies wealth and coincidentally is exactly the amount Bambino (the trust Bernie has no control over) pays him each year, could he possibly manage to live next year on the paltry $5million salary he gets and of course the dividend on his 5.3% of F1 shares?

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 2nd August 2014, 5:51

      I think once again Bernie proves to the world that money beats all. Call it what you will but this settlement is nothing short of another bribe deal, except its open for everyone to see and the opposition wants it. Doesn’t matter what the name or meaning is, the sad truth is those who accept money to settle deals that involve matters of justice and/or law are just as corrupt those who pay them (unless there’s no other alternative). But then, where has true justice ever been in the court system? It’s all about who gets payed more and who can BS more. Welcome to reality.

  7. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:39

    Regardless of what you think about Bernie and the allegations of bribery leveled against him. I think that Bernie might be in some very hot waters at the moment. He may be able to find a suitable settlement of £20 million, however, he’ll have to shell out for legal costs, and I’m guessing that will be on both sides, and I’m pretty sure that will be on top of that amount and won’t be cheap, because lets face it, Bernie has a expensive tastes in life, and I’m sure his legal team are the best that money can buy.
    Further to the bribery case, or should I say, linked to it, is the fact that Bernie maybe forced out of his ownership of F1, with increasing pressure from those around him. Will the settlement be enough to make this go away? Probably, if it was his only indiscretion, however, we all know that Bernie has been hot water in the past and perhaps the antics leading up to this, including the settlement may be enough to see a change in ownership in F1.
    On top of this, TV ratings are declining and this may be leveled at Bernie’s management of F1 and the constant rule changes.
    Given that he may lose his stake in F1, and £20 million plus legal costs, he stands to lose quite a lot of money in the next 2 years unless he can turn around the growing angst against him.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:02

      @dragoll if you have $4Billion invested conservatively returning 5% pa that is $200million pa so anything less than $100million is a slap on the wrist for Bernie, as he himself said $44million (the alleged bribe) was cheap insurance to avoid the inconvenience of a tax audit even when he knew they would find nothing illegal.

  8. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 2nd August 2014, 1:57

    Guess that’ll mean the end of Ecclestone with CVC. They were already making noises about showing him the door pending the outcome of the trial and I’d have thought that settling out of court would be tantamount to an admission of guilt. His position in FOM can no longer be tenable if they’re to salvage any shred of credibility and avoid F1 disappearing completely down the toilet.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:11

      @mazda-chris, No doubt Bernie will argue he is totally innocent and he only settled because the trial was a burdensome inconvenience, that may satisfy Bernies contractual agreement with CVC and prevent them from sacking him without a large payout ($100m.seems to be a frequently occuring figure in F1).

  9. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 2nd August 2014, 2:37

    Nothing sticks on Teflon Bernie.

    How to wriggle out of a bribery case? Bribe your way out of course!

  10. As someone who lives in the U.S and has watched a lot of coverage from major sporting events, Disney buying F1 would be a great move. ESPN is the definitive channel for sports, smashing NBCSN out of the water, and they have a great way of providing coverage that will make Americans care about the sport. If they can get half the excitement they managed to bring during the world cup, then I’m sure viewing figures will far exceed the current ones in the U.S.

    There is still one key issue stopping F1 from becoming big in the U.S.A. The times of the races are ridiculous. Asian races aren’t worth it and European races are ok if you’re on central time but a real chore if you are further west. I know there isn’t really that much to be done, but F1 is always going to struggle in markets outside of Europe.

    • David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:45

      @theo-hrp As somebody who lives in UTC+7 I can understand that last paragraph, though over here that applies to Indycar (midnight, just like watching Asian races in America, I reckon), as opposed to F1′s European rounds (7 PM).

    • @theo-hrp I agree with you totally. I live in the UK but spent a summer a few years back in the States. Given that the races start at 8am ET or 5am PT, it’s unsurprising that the viewing figures are low and the same would be true for any sport with regular fixtures at that time. It took me to be in the States to realise first hand what the dedication North American fans must have to watch the entire season. It’s going to be almost impossible for a “casual sports fan” to stumble across most of the races, except those in your time zone.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 2nd August 2014, 11:30

      Asian series air at 6 a.m or 7 a.m here, and I prefer those early morning races but I know I’m part of a minority.

      I love NBA basketball and I don’t watch live games as much as I’d like too because on weekdays it starts at 1.00 a.m or later… so time zones is a challenge for any major sport.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 2nd August 2014, 17:19

      I live in Germany and in the Netherlands,and I like the early morning timeslot over eavening races, but tend to prefer both over the 2-4pm timeslot because they allow for doing other things with family and friends who don’t care for f1.

  11. Breno (@austus) said on 2nd August 2014, 3:40

    I’m surprised the “magic paint” article from motorsport isnt featured, it’s almost as absurd as Ecclestone’s defense.

  12. Michel S. (@hircus) said on 2nd August 2014, 4:42

    “If Disney were to take over F1 it would be no bad thing on a number of levels. It would bring marketing expertise and would give F1 a higher profile in the United States where the series has been trying to gain ground against local rival NASCAR.”

    With Disney owning both F1 and the Star Wars franchise, the future is bright for… wait for it…

    Podracing! The high-tech alternative to NASCAR

  13. Rigi (@rigi) said on 2nd August 2014, 8:07

    i agree that kvyat has done very well this year but it’s a close call between him and magnussen for the rookie of the year. magnussen got a podium in his first f1 race, beat his world champion team mate a lot of times and had he not had a few incidents, in which some of them he was at fault, he’d have scored more points. kvyat did incredibly well, but also had some incidents, again, some of them his fault. beating team mate vergne isn’t as hard as beating button. it’s a very close call and i hope both of them end up fighting for championships.

  14. andae23 (@andae23) said on 2nd August 2014, 8:10

    Sad to see no mention of Carel Godin de Beaufort in the ‘on this day’ bit. The first Dutchman to score points had a massive shunt at Bergwerk the day before the 1964 GP and died one day later.

  15. KeithR (@lockup) said on 2nd August 2014, 9:21

    I’m so disappointed in the German judiciary. Why should Gribowsky get 8 years in prison and Bernie in effect nothing at all? Two halves of the same crime.

    I am so fed up of the endless dishonesty in F1. I was really hoping there was going to be a bit of justice this time.

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