Skip to main content

Formula One: Bernie Ecclestone to face trial in Germany

January 16, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bernie Ecclestone will stand trial on bribery charges, a German court announced
  • The 83-year-old is accused of making corrupt payments during the sale of Formula One
  • He will step down as a director of the company that owns the rights to the motorsport
  • However, Ecclestone will continue to be involved in the running of F1

(CNN) -- How do you run a business effectively when your supremo is facing bribery charges over a multibillion-dollar deal?

In the case of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone you step down as director of the sport's holding company -- Delta Topco -- but continue to run one of the world's most lucrative sport franchises on a day-to-day basis.

The 83-year-old Ecclestone is accused of making a corrupt payment during his sale of the sport in 2006 and was indicted on bribery charges in German. He is set to go on trial in April.

He denies the charges and he was not immediately available for comment when his office was contacted by CNN.

Sebastian Vettel is proving to be a worthy successor to fellow German driver Michael Schumacher (right) as the biggest star in Formula One. Sebastian Vettel is proving to be a worthy successor to fellow German driver Michael Schumacher (right) as the biggest star in Formula One.
German greats
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
Vettel and Schumacher\'s route to success Vettel and Schumacher's route to success
Sebastian Vettel has got used to having the open road between his Red Bull and his rivals in the 2013 season. He has won 13 of the 19 races up for grabs. Sebastian Vettel has got used to having the open road between his Red Bull and his rivals in the 2013 season. He has won 13 of the 19 races up for grabs.
Open road racer
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Sebastian Vettel: The loneliness of the F1 champion Sebastian Vettel: The loneliness of the F1 champion

Following the court's decision, Delta Topco Limited held a board meeting to plan how best to run the F1 business.

"Mr. Ecclestone has reassured the board that he is innocent of the charges and intends to vigorously defend the case which will commence in late April 2014," said a Delta Topco statement.

"After discussion with the board, Mr. Ecclestone has proposed and the board has agreed that until the case has been concluded, he will step down as a director with immediate effect, thereby relinquishing his board duties and responsibilities until the case has been resolved.

"The board believes that it is in the best interests of both the F1 business and the sport that Mr. Ecclestone should continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis, but subject to increased monitoring and control by the board.

"Mr. Ecclestone has agreed to these arrangements. The approval and signing of significant contracts and other material business arrangements shall now be the responsibility of the chairman, Mr. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, and deputy chairman, Mr. Donald Mackenzie."

Ecclestone is accused of making a corrupt payment to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a banker who worked on the sale of F1 to private equity firm CVC in 2006.

Gribkowsky was jailed for eight and a half years in 2012 after he admitted to taking bribes, an accusation which Ecclestone denies.

Read: F1 unveils driver numbers for 2014 season

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
ADVERTISEMENT