Ecclestone book reveals animosity with Dennis that cost McLaren

2011 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007

Tom Bower’s new book on Bernie Ecclestone shows how his hostility towards Ron Dennis cost McLaren dearly in 2007.

Ecclestone says: “When Flavio [Briatore] stuck a knife in my back, he charmed me and said, ‘It’s good for you to let out some blood.’

“But when Ron puts the knife in, he wants you to know that he’s in charge and he’s killed you.”

It shows how some of F1’s recent scandals were driven by jealousies between Ecclestone, Dennis, Briatore and former FIA president Max Mosley.

During the ‘spygate’ affair in 2007 Fernando Alonso waited until the Hungarian Grand Prix to threaten Dennis by revealing incriminating emails.

But he had already revealed their contents to Briatore two weeks earlier, who in turn had shared the details with Ecclestone and Mosley.

Ecclestone later talked Mosley down from banning McLaren for two years (“bit heavy”, he said) and instead imposing a record $100 million fine. Mosley joked that it was “$5 million for the offence and $95 million for Ron being a twat”.

Briatore was later embroiled in a cheating scandal but remains a close ally of Ecclestone’s. The pair share an unusual nickname for Lewis Hamilton -‘Jumbo’.

But Ecclestone is less comfortable with Mosley’s replacement as FIA president, Jean Todt, of whom Ecclestone says: “He put the president’s hat on and his personality changed”.

The book also reveals Ecclestone draws a 2.5 million salary from F1 owners CVC plus 1 million in bonuses.

F1 is set to be broadcast in high definition for the first time this year but according to Bower FOM had “perfected” their HD broadcast in 2006.

Among the many anecdotes from earlier in Ecclestone’s career is this about a failed bid for a Russian Grand Prix in the early eighties: “The city’s mayor wanted us to race across the cobblestones in Red Square and put the entire thing through his wife’s bank accounts.”

Read the F1 Fanatic review of “No Angel”:

Buy “No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone” by Tom Bower

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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217 comments on “Ecclestone book reveals animosity with Dennis that cost McLaren”

  1. I sure as hell hope nobody in power thinks I’m a **** then…

  2. Ecclestone later talked Mosley down from banning McLaren for two years (“bit heavy”, he said) and instead imposing a record $100 million fine. Mosley joked that it was “$5 million for the offence and $95 million for Ron being a ****”.

    If anything, Ecclestone was Dennis’ greatest ally here. If I were in McLaren’s shoes and I was given the choice between a $100 million fine and a two-year suspension, I know which I’d take.

    1. Definitely.

    2. If 95% of the fine was a personal vendetta as quoted above, do you think McLaren might appeal to get some of it back?

      1. Given the book is unofficial, I doubt it. Leave it be I say.

      2. Not given that the book describes Mosley as joking when he said it.

      3. If 95% of the fine was a personal vendetta as quoted above, do you think McLaren might appeal to get some of it back?

        It’s long since been spent. I believe about half of it went into road safety programs (which seems to be the FIA’s equivalent of community service; I remember Michael Schumacher had to do a lot of road safety stuff after Jerez 1997), while the rest of it went towards funding young driver development programs.

        1. TBF, don’t think McLaren really paid much, Mercedes put the money up, an it’s peanuts to a company that size.

          Might well have had something to do with the Merc boards decision to leave McLaren though.

          1. I dont think Mercedes paid any part of the sine. They just said it was a Mclaren problem.

          2. Actually, the reason why the Merc/McLaren relationship whent sour is because McLaren started developing their own road car, powered by a McLaren engine…

        2. Half of it went to buy prison guard uniforms,and the other half went to the hookers.

          1. They have been treating Max well at the other “facility”, he may have also spent some on “Tea”

      4. Also, if they had the gull to demand 95% of the fine back, the FIA could always demand 95% of two seasons worth of suspensions.

      5. I surely hope that they do.

      6. I think Ron got Max back with the sex scandal. Good one, Ron!!!

        And if it wasn’t Ron, I’m sure there were at least $100M worth of chuckles over at the MTC while that whole affair was unfolding…

    3. Enlightened self-interest. Eccelstone’s job is to sell F1, which would have been much harder without McLaren around.

  3. Wow, can’t wait to read this book now! That anecdote has provided me with yet another reason to detest Max Mosley. And the sooner Bernie goes senile and gets shipped off to the retirement home, the better

    1. Touche! I share the exact same sentiments. Unlike a lot of people who are avid Bernie supporters, I feel that he has past his prime, and there could be several replacements who could do a much better job than he has been doing off late.

      1. Out of curiosity Todfod who do you think could/should replace him?

        1. Well, I’d love to see Ron Dennis in charge :)

        2. I don’t see why there needs to be one individual with overriding control. Maybe a commitee of people to stop one person taking a dictotrial control of the sport, as Ecclestone has done

          1. Yeah, it just seemed like Bernie had bit off more than he could chew. He was getting involved in improving the show with shortcuts & mario cart ideas, deciding which drivers get on the grid, involved with technical regs, and political relations, etc. This is in addition to his basic responsibilities as commercial rights holders which involves negotiating with broadcasters, race organisers/promoters, etc. In handling all these different roles, he isn’t doing himself or the formula 1 group any favours. A committee of people would manage all aspects of this sport more efficiently.

          2. Yeah right – a commitee, if F1 isn’t run in a dictatorial way it will never get any agreements. Commitees are for governments to urinate tax revenues up against the wall not for dynamic world class business.
            With a moniker like Ned Flanders it sort of figures that you wouldn’t understand that!!!

          3. Personal attack in the closing sentence aside, I agree with Peter about committees p155ing money up the wall.

            Even in my job, a humble web app developer, we’ve had a pair of projects recently where one succeeded with the Bernie school of business, the other is still p155ing money in the requirements phase as they can’t agree on anything and own agendas create extra work to overcome.

          4. …and in more, the Bernie school of projects netted the company a handful of industry awards.

          5. @Peter. Simple question: if that’s true – then why do companies have management boards?

            By the way, with comments like that about other posters, it sort of figures you’re a Max Mosely name for Ron Dennis!!! : P

          6. I can tell you right now, running anything by committee tends to be a BAD idea.

          7. Maciek – companies have management boards to hold the chief executive to account for the running of the company. But it tends to be the chief executive who calls the shots…

          8. @Tim. CEOs of companies have VP Marketing & Sales, COO, CFO, and other designations that make the calls, or at the least have an opinion that is held in high regard by the CEO. The formula 1 group is a one man show… an 80 year old half senile man …Bernie Ecclestone.

        3. Just off the top of my head – Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports (company that own all the commercial rights to MotoGP). He has done a great job for distributing and licensing all the rights for MotoGP thus far, and has kept Dorna hugely profitable, while keeping the sport out of controversy.

          Another replacement could be Vijay Mallya, although I really dont see him giving up his CEO role of his entire liquor and airline industry anytime soon. He is a brilliant businessman/entrepreneur, and as a commercial rights holder, I’m sure he would possess the skill set in making sustainable profits while improving the quality of the show.

          I honestly do not know a lot about the governing bodies and individuals in motorsport, so I wish I could come up with more examples. I guess executives at CVC and JP Morgan, should have Bernie’s replacements planned already, and they would answer that question better than I could.

          1. I think Bernie gets to choose his successor actually and I think he already has someone in mind.

          2. So I guess its Tamara then :P

          3. Vijay is the worst person to take over. He’s a legal nightmare

          4. @Jeremy. What do you mean by legal nightmare?

  4. I can’t say ****? Keith and Mosley even said ****! Lol.

    1. No you can’t say ****. Max Mosley is not a role model :-)

      1. Was Twitter about in that year?

  5. Wow this book sounds like it gives away a lot of juicy F1 gossip!

  6. Anyone got any theories on ‘Jumbo’? Because I’m stumped.

    1. a google images search for jumbo brings up some childrens cartoon images of an elephant.

      so… big ears then.

      1. It’s politeness, really they mean Dumbo.

      2. Might be it. I don’t suppose they mean him to be unstoppable once he gets going.
        Although the Bernie-Flav connection might hint at that one a bit, being a result of his stance at McLaren against Alonso.

        That connection as well as the Bernie-Ron dislike also explains, why Bernie never really liked Hamilton and rates just about everyone higher than Lewis.

        1. Exactly BasCB! Brundle asked him who he wants to win the WDC in 07 at Interlagos and he made it clear he did not want LH to win it.

          And LH saying till today he could and cannot say what happened to his car in that race tells more than the eye sees :( .

          Max and BE did not want that success for Ron and LH and Ron had to agree to save his lifelong work.

          1. i understand you are dumbo’s fan, that doesnt mean he has to win all the WDC’s right? .. that year hes was not good enuf to win it and he din’t, its funny how ppl relate everything happened around the world to his wdc loss…..

          2. What the?

            Don’t be daft… Lewis lost, Kimi won… Unless you have a shred of evidence try to keep your insanity on the inside… Like I do! :D

          3. Exactly, I made that point three years ago. And there was a Brazilian reporter – I forgot the name – who actually implied there was much more about that “missing button” then we know, or are allowed to know. But, who knows, in 10 or 20 years…

    2. I guess because of his ears… Are you sure it’s not Dumbo? Like the animated elephant? It would make sense. Briatore and Ecclestone should look at themselves first before giving people nickname. Both look vomitive to me

      1. Definitely Jumbo. Here’s the quote:

        ‘I bet Jumbo wins’, [Ecclestone] told Briatore, using their nickname for Lewis Hamilton.


          Jumbo (1861 – September 15, 1885) was a large African Bush Elephant, born 1861 in the French Sudan – present-day Mali – imported to a Paris zoo, transferred to the London Zoo in 1865, and sold in 1882 to P. T. Barnum, for the circus.

          The giant elephant’s name has spawned the common word “jumbo”, meaning large in size.

          1. Bernie looks like Gollum with a wig on. Would he mind if i call him Gollum?

          2. @Sarah. Hahahahahahhaha.. damn that was funny!

          3. Maybe we should be asking Hamilton’s girlfriend….

        2. Well Keith, let me put a little light into that name. He may not mean to say “Jumbo” but “Bimbo” which the German speaking people call strongly pigmented people of African origin.

      2. Agree Sarah, Lewis’ ears are tiny compared to those twos’ which is why I fear it might be some weird racial slur?

        1. yeah im thinking the connection is that the “common” Elephant is African.

          1. I think Lewis is of Caribean decent.

          2. I think Lewis is of Caribean decent

            I’m not sure they would really care to make that distinction.

      3. So here we have a nickname without explanation, and people here instantly think racially, what does that say about them and their thought process?

        Seriously that never occurred to me until I read the comments here, I just thought they’d seen him in the shower.

        1. is this meant to be a joke? you say the thought that it might be a racially motivated nickname has never occurred to you and then you bring up a prominent black stereotype. erm, care to explain?

          1. What was meant was a negative racial slur never occured to his mind, a positive stereotype is hardly going to offend anyone now is it?

            I mean can you imagine a black guy saying “I’ve got a big what?, you get back here you *****” No, you can’t can you?

          2. @Jared – actually it’s only positive if you have a certain mindset. The fact is that that stereotype is part of a long history of portraying black people as primitive and brutish and black men’s abilities in particular as being limited to physical prowess.

          3. @Maciek


          4. Who’s to say that LH isn’t hugely endowed anyway, regardless of colour (or perhaps a sarcastic opposite?). When was it ever claimed that was a racial comment to begin with?

            I feel I should also ask what you’d define as a stereotype and what is a fact? The average black man is more endowed than the average white guy!

            If I say that most black men have darker skin that most white men would it be a slur?

    3. I seem to remember from when I was young that the theme tune mentioned something along the lines of how Jumbo was packed off at a young age and taken to the circus – is it possibly an attempt at a cynical analogy as to how McLaren took him on from such a young age and shore-horned him into F1, and that they presumed Lewis wouldn’t be able, or know how, to fend for himself? If so, seems a tad harsh, wouldn’t all 21-year-olds in their first season struggle a bit in this mad world of ours. I probably would.

      1. not a bad idea, could well have something to do with it.

        1. Wasn’t that nellie?

          1. If you want to get technical about it, Dumbo was born in a travelling circus (airdropped via storks).

      2. Are you thinking of Nellie the Elephant?

        1. Ah yeahhh! Apologies for that. Oh well, at least others can hark back to the glory days of children’s TV :)

          1. It was my favourite song when I was but a wee toddler! I can still remember half the words!

    4. jumbo jet? because the way he drove on his rookie season? They were as impressed as the rest of us. Just a guess.

    5. Because they’re both very rude and ignorant individuals?

      1. Anything to do with the colour of his skin? :/

    6. Perhaps it’s something to do with a ceetain stereotype about black people…

      1. Ned – That was my thoughts too! But I dread to think how Bernie and Flabbio would know that…!

    7. Could be because of the image of the powerful animal that behaves timidly for his keepers like the original Jumbo, but that’s probably a bit deep. It’s also common to call people with a big penis jumbo. Just saying…

    8. I think he’s called Jumbo because he always goes large at Mcdonalds!!

    9. well, jumbo usually defines something big/huge, as in “jumbo’jet” for ex… :))

      …too bad there are so few women here to enlighten us in this matter :)) any suggestion girls???

    10. Though everyone in the comments are correct in that Jumbo was the name of a famous elephent, I don’t believe the nickname is in reference to his ears. If anything, it’s probably an interesting nod to P.T. Barnum who owned and made the elephant famous. Barnum did all he could to make money with the elephant by making it a spectacle and showing him off at every opportunity. Even going so far as to make sure it hung out in a field near some train tracks that went by his land. I think the comparison here is that Lewis was their “Jumbo” in that he contributed to bringing in lots of money and fans by people gawking at/clamoring to see the new and amazing superstar. Seeing as how F1 is often called a circus, it’s actually rather apt. Plus it puts Mosley and Ecclestone in the place of Barnum which is favorable for them since he was a VERY shrewd and clever marketer/businessman.

      1. Interesting idea but I think you’re being a bit kind to bernie here, I think it’s far more likely he’s just a racist.

    11. No no no, you’ve all got it wrong. It’s due to a little stunt he pulled whilst partying after winning his first race. He climbed on a table and turned out his trouser pockets whilst shouting “Who wants to see my elephant impression”…

      1. Haha that made me laugh!

    12. I’m trying to convince myself that its simply because Hamilton was the next ‘big’ thing.

      Not sure its working however

    13. knowing bernie and max (not personally) of course,and what those 2 are like, i doubt the real meaning of “jumbo” would be printable on here keith, thats my opinion,anyway.

    14. Its racist. They are calling him an animal basically because he his black.

      1. I don’t think it’s racism. They are just senil and stupid! Briatore dated a black woman, i don’t think he’s a racist.

    15. Could be the biggest thing in the book. “jumbo” is a highly racist term.

  7. Max Mosley must have absolutely loved the opportunity to finally fine something to do with Ron Dennis into the ground. You get the impression from the tonality of some of these quotes that he and the FIA had wanted to do so for years; but ultimately it would have been impossible to fine a man, who for years had sternly tried to stand-up against the credibility faults in the sport, attempted to preserve technical innovation (remember the number of parts teams ‘complained’ against Mclaren in the late 90s), and had successfully and wisely headed a team for upwards of twenty years. The opportunity would have been too good to miss.

    1. It does explain some of the rumours that Mosley was “rumbled” by P.I’s paid for by Ron Dennis.

      Saying that, I did manage to see the edited video of the “torture session” before it got removed from the internet. There was a good shot of Max looking very shifty as he got near the building so someone somewhere paid for it, that’s for sure.

  8. I am a McLaren fan, but it has to be said that animosity was not the cause of McLaren’s woes in 2007… they did it all by themselves.

    I want to move on :)

    1. I seem to recall the whole thing being instigated by one Nigel Stepney as it happens yet Ferrari mysteriously get off scott-free. Article 151c I believe was quoted “Any group or individual bringing the sport into disrepute” etc.

      It was a personal vendetta against Ron Dennis, nothing more. Alonso opted to become the spark to the flame because at the end of the day he is a big puff and couldn’t cope with the idea that there was someone else in F1 that was as quick as him.

      1. Are you seriously saying that Ferrari should have been disciplined for a Ferrari employee committing espionage against Ferrari? Pish Posh

        McLaren should have said no to the data they received and turned the matter over to the governing body.

        McLaren are fortunate they didn’t receive the 2 year ban.

        1. And we were unfortunate.

      2. I seem to recall the whole thing being instigated by one Nigel Stepney as it happens yet Ferrari mysteriously get off scott-free.

        I stole your wallet yesterday. The police’ll be around in a few hours to nick you.

        1. Whilst I disagree with what he said, I don’t think thats entirely what he meant.

          He simply stated that the whole thing was illegal, and it was one employee selling data to another employee, not ferrari to mclaren. What he was saying was that if mclaren are to be fined for the actions of an employee so should ferrari (since both ends of the transaction were illegal).

          Seems a bit daft though tbh, since ferrari would have lost out already due to mclaren having seen their data!

          1. As I read then, the thing is that DelaRosa and Alonso Mails prooved that McLaren was using that information. Alonso asked by mail to Delarosa if that was Ferrari’s stolen information. And DelaRosa told him that yes, that they were using that information.

            Yes, Alonso is allways inside all these things but he’s the only one with integrity.

          2. @RaulZ

            Integrity! He tried to blackmail Ron Dennis! After he had already leaked the info!

            If you think that is integrity then I would not want to do any deals with you….

          3. @Tom

            Yes, you don’t have to do any deal with me. Expecially when you’re doing something ilegal. I’ll backmail you.

            I think that’s integrity, but maybe, as my mother tonge is not English, I could be understanding anything else.

          4. Why is that a reply to me? I didn’t even mention alonso!

    2. They acted, FIA reacted.

  9. Based on those quotes, I think Bernie is mightily disappointed with Todt going his own course instead of listening to him.

    Good on you Todt, focus on your job. Still not a good reason to keep silent about Bahrain until two days after it was over though.

    1. You know, until you mentioned that i hadn’t even thought about Todt in the whole affair. That’s shocking.

    2. I agree, Tod thinks on his own and this is Democracy

  10. Strange how Alonso “found” the evidence regarding Ferrari, and spoke with Briatore first, and now drives for Ferrarri… just thinking aloud of course..

    1. what are you thinking?

    2. Also the fact that Renault had Maclaren plans but escaped any significant punishment (Did they get any punishment?) Despite the dissemination of the data at renault being far more significant than ferraris data at Maclaren.

      Oh and Ferrari escaped punishment for the cheating that set off the whole thing.

      1. What’cheating’ was that exactly? Me thinks you are trying to deflect the blame for ‘spygate’. It wouldn’t have mattered so much if McLaren only possessed Ferrari designs and docs, but the fact that they used them is what earned them a sanction. If you’re referring to Ferrari’s stepped floor, the rule was only clarified after it was protested, therefore Ferrari had to change it in order to comply. No cheating there.

        1. As far as I remember Stepney became angry at Ferraris attempts to hide the floor from the FIA. In fact the whole design of the floor was designed to be hidden from the FIA during tests. Yes the rules were clarified after the fact but Ferrari were purposefully trying to deceive the FIA from noticing it in the first place (which I think is against the rules and I am pretty sure other teams have been punished for similar acts). Stepney as a result gave the documents to Maclaren so that they could blow the lid on it.

          They were not punished for using the documents as it was never proven that they did use any of the information and the information was only in known to a handful of employees. However they were obviously guilty of having them in their possession. However Renault were found to have Maclaren documents on their main computer system available to all engineers yest they got away without any punishment, why? Surely Renault were more guilty than Maclaren?

          Incidentally, With the allegations that Alonso had already notified Briatore of the facts before he blackmailed Ron, I wonder if it was him who also gave Renault the Maclaren documents?

          1. Lee my friend, you are a clever man. Also to add to your awesome comment i remember Toyota not getting punished for having some Ferrari data although i admit i don’t know exactly what they had.
            Anyone claiming that Mclaren built their car in 2007 on Ferrari data is a complete idiot because they got them in March. Actually i think they already did the first race.

          2. Is it just me or does everyone have Ferrari Data? I bet Ferrari accidentally left it all on their bulletin board or something…

          3. Err, you can’t be punished for a rule that doesn’t exist. Think double diffuser 2009.

            Also McLaren were punished for using the information they had to hand. They tested some of the ferrari data, but decided not to use it on their car.

          4. They were hit with $100,000,000 because Ron had stood up at the FIA and said they did not have any material from other teams. Which was untrue. When the FIA found out Ronald had been lying to them, they went medieval on his ass.

  11. As i tweeted, the nickname is very strange and it is obviously nothing to do with Lewis’ size. Maybe it is about his ears? ‘Knowing’ those two, sadly it might be a racial slur:(

    1. It’s probably racially motivated, to say the least. The only other significant thing called ‘Jumbo’ was of African origin and was some sort of circus attraction. It’s too bad Bernie and Flavio, people of little repute, of such disgusting character are allowed to parade around and above the sport like this and make some of the idiotic decisions they do without consequence(in Briartore’s case, his punishment was dramatically lessened.)

      Yet again, some of the difference between American Sport and European.

      1. People tend to be too quick to pull the race card. there may be a perfectly innocent explanation. Jeez.

  12. i think the title of this article should be: “Ecclestone saves McLaren from 2 year ban,recent biography reveals”

    1. Ecclestone’s intervention was known ages ago.

      1. i know but since I didnt read the book I was going by the article itself. And in it i dont see Ecclestone costing Mclaren, but rather helping them in talking Max down from a much harsher penalty.

        1. Are you nuts? 2 years ban or 100 million, either way it is a more of a punishment “for Ron being a ****”. You see later Renault got nothing for cheating.

          BE just didn’t want to lose money, it’s bad for F1 without McLaren, otherwise we wouldn’t have a great season like 08′.

          1. Indeed, it seems that although Ecclestone tried to get a lesser punishment for Maclaren he managed to get Renault (who one of his best mates ran) off the hook completely!

      2. Even then as now, was it not simply a case of good cop bad cop and a charade played out for the media. The penalty was set from the beginning as it was believed F1 would not survive a McLaren ban.

  13. Christian Briddon
    24th February 2011, 10:46

    Anyone notice how 95% of all recent F1 controversies somehow involve Alonso?

    1. Such is the power he wields!

      1. I seconds that.. :-)

    2. or they all involve mclaren, ferrari and benetton(ren).

      probably more closer to the truth.

      alonso had no power in the development/spying strategy. tho he was a bit a of a tw*t the way he used his knowledge to his advantage. but i suspect there is more to it that we will never know…or frankly care. Alonso and prost stood up to ron and thats why i respect them.

      as for singapore. he didnt know. why would he? he openly said he cares not for single wins only titles. Renault were about to leave so pat and flav NEEDED a win to sway the board. Nelson NEEDED to stay so would do anything So they were both desperate. Fernando wouldnt risk his career for a win he didnt need. which is pretty much it. i might be wrong but alonso is clever and wouldnt take that risk. for a title win sure. but then so would michael and probably many others.

      Fernando isnt squeaky clean for sure and clearly can be a bit of a idiot when it suits him, no senna but he can cause a stir with the best of them. but people get well OTT on his bad side. and its quite comical.

      1. *sigh*… Alonso never know anything. He didn’t even know Massa was told to let him pass either. Poor little thing!

        1. lol,nice comment sara ! ;)

      2. Alonso didn’t really stand up to Ron as much as he tried to Blackmail him (while now seemingly having already spilled the information out) That is not standing up to someone that is the actions of a low life. Also from what I am hearing from within Ferrari it seems as if he has not made many friends their either.

        1. It seems to me either you are asking the wrong guys or you do not have many true friends inside Ferrari…

          Only God knows how many times has been written and read that Alonso did have a huge problem with RD when within McLaren, and did stand up to him. Guess what? He lost.

          As somebody said wisely, most of us want to move on, but are fed up of sooooo many worthless (or worse) comments about ’07.

          So let’s hope we get another wonderful year and continue to see great drivers in great racing machines battling for victory.


          1. I am not sure what you mean…

            I know someone who works at Ferrari F1 (and has done for some time) who claims that Alonso walked into the place as if He owned it and not a lot of the Ferrari guys are happy about the Spanish Mafia hanging around…. However you can think what you want but a lot of dodgy things happen around Alonso with him always claiming to not know anything about them (strange that).

      3. Nonesense!! He was in on it, if you “cares not for single wins” why does he protest so much when journalists call his “hollow” victories in to question? The anger is all over his face when he’s quizzed about “Crashgate” and Hockenheim 2010. Why? because he knows that the whole world is watching him squirm and that its obvious he has indulged in dubious enterprises for his own personal gain.

    3. Alonso always makes me laugh, he’s such a pantomime villain :D

      1. Massa……behind you, HE’S BEHIND YOU.

        Move the **** over.

    4. Anyone notice how 95% of all recent F1 controversies somehow involve Alonso?

      Alonso was not involved in Liegate scandal i guess.

      1. Liegate scandal? LOl! It was only made a scandal from annoying Hamilton haters. Big deal he told a small lie that is anything but great or big just to get the position that it was RIGHTFULLY his and only lost it because the FIA cleverly forgot to answer to Mclaren asking them and Mclaren tried to be so careful and actually loyal that they ended being screwed and felt injustice so they acted sentimentally making him lie.
        And every freaking driver lies to his best interest about incidents when asked by the stewards but suddenly Hamilton did something big.
        If only Alonso’s crimes where that innocent and small.

        1. “And every freaking driver lies to his best interest about incidents when asked by the stewards but suddenly Hamilton did something big.”

          I doubt they all do but even if they did it wouldn’t make any of them right. It was made a scandal because he did something wrong and liegate has nothing to do with Fernando.

    5. When you are on top of the mountain, everyone is aiming to knock you off.

      1. Spot on Solo! couldn’t say it better my self.

        1. Steph’s response was far better, as they usually are.

  14. on this case bernie is right, tho i do respect Ron hugely for his achievements. not his driver management tho lol.

    but on the 07 issue, he lied about it on tv at silverstone(i think) and then again at first part of the investigation. it only became a big deal when it was proven he lied. if he just told the truth i think they would of been ok. cos they really hadnt done that much wrong.

    1. they really hadnt done that much wrong.

      God!!! they stole intellectual property of rivals. Though i have no idea whether they were involved in sabotaging Ferraris(Some suspicious foreign body was found in the gas tanks i guess). you say they haven’t done anything wrong. Hamilton and Alonso should have been striped off their points.Lucky they got away(Thanks to Bernie?)

      1. What about Renault? Should they not have received an equal punishment?

        What about Ferrari? Should they not have received some sort of punishment?

        Yes Maclaren should have been punished however be aware that it was never proven that any of the info they had had been used. But surely Fair is fair and Renault should have had the same or worse penalty?

        1. I assume the Renault punishment you refer to is the crashgate scandal, the two events were completely different, the McLaren event amounts to industrial espionage which should Ferrari have chosen to take it to court could have caused Ron Dennis and Nigel Stepney to be sentenced to jail terms. And it doesn’t matter whether they used the data or not the fact is they had it in their possession and there was enough evidence to suggest they did use the data.

          The Renault event involved Flavio forcing one of his drivers to crash, although it was a choice made by Piquet to crash his car, Flavio could not actually control the car. While I agree that Renault escaped lightly it was never proved it was a team decision and making the whole team suffer including the other driver would have been incredibly un-fair.

          And why on earth should Ferrari have been punished for someone stealing their data, on your reasoning you should be sent to jail when someone steals from you. The idea that Ferrari should have been punished is preposterous.

          Also, i’m not a Ferrari, Renault or McLaren fan but a Team Lotus fan, and I’m a Kiwi so there is no bias here at all.

          1. No, Renault actually had data of Ferrari on their computer – seemingly more likely to have been widely spread within the team then at McLaren; From what I read above, Toyota also had Ferrari data – apparently that isn’t all that uncommon in F1.

            I think it was clear to most people in F1 that most of that fine and the big deal was animosity between Ferrari and McLaren, big rivals, fueled by Mosley also detesting Dennis; but both Ecclestone and Mosley always denied that.

          2. @Jarred Walmsley

            The above poster is correct, I was on about the fact that renault had Maclaren data on their systems (available to all that wanted to look as opposed to the Ferrari data in maclarens hands that was only available to a few people). They went to the FIA Hearing and walked out free from punishment, Maclaren come out with a £100m fine!

            Also the reason most people (I say most as some seem to think they should be punished for loosing their data which is just stupid) think that they should have been punished for the events leading to stepney handing over the data. They designed parts of the car to purposefully hide their function from the FIA inspectors. Stepny handed over the data as he was not impressed by this and I suppose he did not trust the FIA to deal with it as they were at the time pretty much a ferrari panel.

            Another thing, You think it would have been unfair if the Renault team were punished for crashgate? This was ordered from the top and I can’t believe that Alonso did not know about it as he was driving in exactly the right way to put himself in position at the time of the crash! It will never be proven but I can’t believe he didn’t know. I also can’t believe that Pique came up with the idea either. It was never proven that Maclaren used the Ferrari data (No matter what people think there was not enough evidence and in fact the evidence pointed towards them having not used the data as parts were scrutinised and no similarities found linking any designs to the stolen data) and only a handful of people knew about the data yet the whole team were punished, why not Renault for Spy gate? Why not Renault for Crashgate? Oh, One Briatore is best mates with Bernie while Ron and Bernie have not liked each other for a long time… Is that coincidence? I don’t think so.

            Maclaren were rightly punished but I do think it was far too harsh and I do think Renault should have been punished to at least the same degree as Maclaren. I also think Ferrari should have been punished for hiding parts from the FIA although this is obviously not directly comparable to the espionage of the other two teams.

            Also it would only have been Stepney that would have gone to jail as Ron Denis (even if he was the one that received the data which I am not sure he was) was handed the data freely and had not ordered the taking of it. I am sure he would have been fined but I would be surprised if he would have been handed a prison sentence.

            However I would also have been surprised if Ferrari would have taken it that far as it would be likely that they have been in possession of other teams data in the past (Apparently it is far from uncommon in F1) and they would not have wanted to risk any info like that coming out in court.

      2. spanky the wonder monkey
        24th February 2011, 13:00

        ummm, i seem to remember they were gifted it by a certain mr stepney. the horse was led out of the stable by it’s trainer.

  15. So in Bernie’s mind it’s alright for you to double cross him provided you smooth talk him afterwards? Surely that is even more despicable than just double crossing him.

    Not only have you “stuck the knife in” but you’ve then gone out of your way to weasel up to him and be his “friend”.

    whatever Bernie.

    1. I think it’s more that when Flavio betrayed him it was all part of the game they both play, sometimes one would win, sometimes the other, either way it would be nothing personal. But when Ron betrayed him he would take pleasure it letting him know it because it was personal.

      I’d be ****** either way but the latter would definitely upset me more.

    2. MclarenFanJamm I think the idea of someone trying to destroy/humiliate you and let you know they’ve done it can really rub salt into the wound especially if Bernie is a proud man. Flavio would probably just say that he was playing the game too so I can see why Ron’s way might annoy him more not that I agree with any of the comments at all.

      1. At least with Ron’s way you’re being honest. Stabbing someone in the back as part of ‘playing the game’ is even more repulsive than doing it out of genuine hatred.

        1. Maybe a head shrinker ray would help F1. So many big egos… Ugh… fools…

  16. Maybe the Jumbo thing is to do with how Lewis always holds his package out of the way when he gets into the car. Perhaps it’s a suggestion that he’s trying to show off his horrifically overgrown schlong.

  17. In the old days copying was so rife, one mechanic wwas found under a rival car with a tape measure.

    I’ve always thought Spygate was all about Mosley, if anything Bernie helped. Mind you only because it would have ruined the season. I doubt Bernie would have been all too sad at Ron’s demise.

  18. I think when you read of all the politics coming out of a book like this, (admittedly very entertaining reading), i have a much greater respect for the drivers. Thet live and breath in this web of chinese whispers and backstabbing. It’s a real challenge to push all of this stuff out of your mind on concentrate on, what we all love, RACING!!!!!

  19. I love to read what goes on behind the scene! I may be in the minority, but I like Bernie.

    And Alonso showing the stuff two weeks before to Briatore! What an honourable man! Although I’m not condoning McLaren’s involvement in the first place.

    1. I love Aloso for this. :)

      1. *Alonso. Too happy sorry :)

    2. Well, Briatore was his manager, I suppose. But clearly he had a rather big conflict of interest; makes you think what other stuff he might have seen of McLaren?

      I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Briatore helped Alonso get the idea to use it to blackmail Dennis, while also showing it to Ecclestone and Mosley to cover himself, knowing how much they wanted to get rid of Dennis.

      1. Well, I don’t know, as other said, if Alonso is around all the scandals but I’m sure Briatore in INSIDE all of them.

        what a man!

  20. F1 is so horribly convaluted with “confilcts of interest” it’s beyond scandalous. It makes the achievements of Mclaren and Red Bull all the more remarkable. They are clearly outsiders from this boys club run by flav, bernie and max.

  21. HounslowBusGarage
    24th February 2011, 12:05

    Who was it who likened the F1 circus to “the Pirhana Club” or similar?
    Seems pretty accurate.

    1. Wasn’t it Ron Dennis who coined the phrase? To Eddie Jordan after Flavio Briatore had poached Michael Schumacher off him?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        24th February 2011, 13:32

        Something else to blame Big Ron for then! :)

  22. i think i have to read this book!

    to think some folks are still so quick to defend someone that admitted to cheating their asses off, what the hell kind of stockholm syndrome are you under? blame the victim, blame the coppers, blame anyone but those responsible!

  23. I would rather be a **** like Ron Dennis with all his success and reputation than be a sad old pervert like Max Mosley and his “friends” who he paid by the hour.

  24. Anyone still arguing that McLaren’s punishment was harsh must be deluded. The appropriate punishment for cheating was a 2 year ban from all F1 races, yet McLaren got away with it.

    1. And Renault got away with it TWICE!!

      (Spygate 2 and Crashgate)

      1. I wonder why? Surely Bernie liking Flav would have had nothing to do with it, now would it?

    2. 2 year ban was the appropriate punishment for McLaren??? It was more like 1 month for the offend, 23 months for Ron.

    3. I didn’t knew that Max wishes(who probably hated Ron even more than Bernie) are what is considered appropriate. Don’t make me laugh dude.

      Anyway when two people with low morals, like Max and Bernie hate a guy, then it’s flattering for him.

  25. Er, as in ‘jumbo jet’, to imply ‘jet black’?

  26. I would like to know nicknames of other drivers.

  27. I think the Jumbo thing is a Gambling reference, they call high rollers in Casinos ‘Whales’ or ‘Jumbos’ and i would guess they just mean Lewis is a cash cow for F1.

    1. That’s an interesting take. Then again, Bernie never really seemed to rate Hamilton very much.

  28. This makes me even more suspicious of 07. In my eyes the sooner ecclestone f—s off the better, the little hitler.

  29. I would read the book but he’s not getting another penny of me.

  30. This is ridiculous to hear. F1 should be ruled by objectivity and not by personal opinions and contrasts. You can’t punish a Formula 1 team because you have a bad relationship with its boss. Those are things to sort out provately.

    1. You do realize about what kind of people we are talking about here right? Who can blame Ron for not being in good relationship with such creatures.
      On the other hand Briatore was quite friendly with both of them most of the years and we know what kind of person he is too.
      Dennis was probably in bad terms with them because he couldn’t stand being surrounded by such lowlifes.

    2. “F1 should be ruled by objectivity and not by personal opinions and contrasts”

      The comments were made jokingly and presumably in private. It could just be argued it was unprofessional rather than showing that they were just out for Dennis. A simialr siuation occured when Crashgate came out too. Max had previously called Flavio the leader of the “loons” and clearly didn’t like the former Renault boss much and some at the time argued he’d be out to nail Briatore but the sentence seemed to fit the crime so although Max shouted his mouth off (and I’m far from a fan of his) it’s hard to tell if he let his personal feelings come into it.

      1. hard to tell? No, not really. If anything this reinforces the notion that Briatore was gotten rid of after his relationship with Mosley soured, and that it is the way Mosley worked. As most of us already had concluded from observing the man at work.

        1. It is hard to tell I think because in both situations there had been clear wrongdoings and the punishments pretty much fitted the crime. Max may have revelled in the opportunity to stick the knife in but it was Ron’s and Flavio’s fault for providing him with the perfect opportunity to hide behind.

  31. I googled it jumbo means clumsy.

  32. Ron Dennis is indeed a ****, but I don’t think he should have to pay £95M for being one

  33. I have to wonder if anybody on here realises that without Bernie Ecclestone, you would still be watching a covert, elitist bunch of engineers and drivers arrogantly going about their racing whilst merely tolerating the fans and media. The paddock would be off limits as would the personalities involved, the engineering and technology would be hidden from you and the TV footage would still be appalling.

    Like him or not, Bernie has made F1 the awesome spectacle that F1 is today. His vision and clever negotiating has brought you the unprecedented access to the sport you enjoy today so show a little appreciation. Without Bernie’s commercial influence the teams would never have realised the importance of fan appreciation and non of us would be half as interested as we are.

    I often visit Lithuania, a country that has yet to licence the FOM TV feed. Their coverage is much as ours was in the 80s i.e. starting just as they get under way and suddenly switching to some weird Mexican soap opera the second the winner takes the chequered flag.

    No tech info, no driver interviews, no engineer interviews, no Mike Gascoine spilling the strategy beans from the pit lane, no grid walk, no nothing!!

    I know he’s a peculiar little fella and he’s hard to like but credit where credit is due. After all, it’s his ball and I don’t want him to take it home. Do you?

    1. What the hell are you talking about? Bernie didn’t bring proximity to the sport he just brought TV coverage. The engineers in old times were a lot less elitist than the guys today.

      Bernie got rich for modern TV coverage but the truth is that it was only a matter of time. If it wasn’t him it would have been someone else. This whole belief that his the second coming for F1 is nothing but stupidity. All sports started having better coverage as the TV capabilities and technology progressed and deals where made. Their is no way that F1 wouldn’t have gotten in the bi TV coverage bandwagon, Bernie or not.
      Bernie was just lucky to be the one getting the benefit of it in F1.

      1. You couldn’t be more wrong. It was the award winning F1 coverage that led the way in the first place and other sports just copied. Do you think ITV and the BBC spend the amount of money on F1 out of the goodness of their hearts. Don’t be so naive, they do it because Bernie writes it into the contract. They have to adhere to his vision. F1 is delivered to you in precisely the way Bernie intends and its completely by design. You are foolish to think otherwise.

        If you think the old days were less elitist, you weren’t there!!

    2. @Coefficient. Man, I hope you realise that F1 is not the best managed sport in the world today. With the amount of scandals & conspiracies, and the fans complaining about the drop in the quality of the show, irregularity on rules and regulations and increasing ticket prices has hurt the sport tremendously. Just because Bernie has been there for ages doesn’t make him the best man for the job. Heck … if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were replaced as the CEOs of their companies, why cant we find a replacement for that 80 year old corrupt lunatic.

  34. But Ecclestone is less comfortable with Mosley’s replacement as FIA president, Jean Todt, of whom Ecclestone says: “He put the president’s hat on and his personality changed”.

    I can only assume this means “he looked like a wrong ‘un, but after we gave him the job he turned straight”.

    Ron Dennis might be a prickly character but he’s essentially honest – the sport’s run by crooks, and nasty ones at that.

    1. Exactly. What you said explain Ron’s bad relationship with them. Even Bernie himself admitted as such in an interview. He said that he doesn’t see eye to eye with Ron but he admits that Dennis is a lot better person that he will ever be. He bloody said that himself on an ESPN interview i was reading.

      You can’t get more obvious than that.

      1. I’d not heard that before Solo. It’s a bit sickening that he’s so proud of being a toerag. Mind you it’s perhaps better than Briatore and Mosley protesting that they’re angels. Thankfully the latter two have gone. I shudder to think of the crook Ecclestone will sell his business to, probably the Russian mafia.

  35. Whoah what I get from this is alonsos’ slimey lack of character.
    Im actually already getting tired of f1 and the season hasn’t started.
    The more you know the less you want to know about this sport(?)

  36. Horrible stuff, they can’t and will never knock McLaren down though. If anything it will just make McLaren stronger.

    1. I assume you are referring to McLaren being in possesion of Ferrari documents? Yes… whoever forced the Ferrari documents on McLaren should be drawn and quartered. How dare anyone force illegal information on McLaren.

      Heaven forbid that McLaren should have stepped up and blow the whistle on the person providing this illegal information.

      1. Heaven forbid that McLaren should have stepped up and blow the whistle on the person providing this illegal information.

        That is what happened, wasnt it?

      2. That was not even enough to investigate by the FIA when it was Toyota having Ferrari data 2 years earlier.
        And the Renault case, where they had date from McLaren was more or less ditched right away.

        A court would have never bought the evidence and circumstances.

      3. I’m used to McLaren hating Ferrari fan boys saying what you said sarcastically!

        I read through the whole FIA documents that they put on their site about spygate and it did seem like it was Alsonso pushing the Ferrari data to be used. I couldn’t understand then why the driver(s) were allowed to keep their points but not the team.

        Now I do haha :(

  37. “Jumbo is British slang for a fool, a large and slow, dim-witted person.” That’s what i read in my research, sorry if this had already been mensioned.

  38. A theory on the “Jumbo” nickname: the original jumbo the elephant was a huge, huge star when he was around. Like, bigger than X factor and the World Cup put together. It could be a clever reference to the Hamilton media sensation.

    Or they could just be two old codgers being rude with a rude nickname.

    1. This is a strongly convincing explanation.

      I think it would’ve been a fleeting comment made by Bernie (unlikely that Briatore would be that familiar with British culture) soon after Hamilton arrived on the scene.
      It’s an in-joke that references a conversation that only those two had, and reminds them of their friendship.

      How much can be read into whether or not it’s a racial slur is down to the character of the two men. So I guess that means it probably is a slur.

  39. It’s amazing how many seem to think highly of a man who was put in charge to fight for the rights of the teams but who ended up robbing the teams of their entitlements himself.

    Then we have those who are somehow trying to equate jumbo to daffoldis or a circus without the freaks. Of course if we close our eyes we cant see what is there and we maintain our innocense. True we can google up jumbo to save ourselves the trouble of looking out the window.

    I respect Bernie for his courage and business accumen and think he did a lot, but more for himself tan for F1.
    He has done a lot of dirty deals that would make a saint of the average crook you find in a a dark alley.

    He and his friends, notably Mosley, have tried to run a cast like system in F1 of which Ron Dennis’ crime was that he rose up to the top from the humble beginnings of a lowly mechanic. Well two hands were caught in a cookie jar, but its ok only if you steal the cookies of a mechanic.

    1. “Then we have those who are somehow trying to equate jumbo to daffoldis or a circus without the freaks. Of course if we close our eyes we cant see what is there and we maintain our innocense. True we can google up jumbo to save ourselves the trouble of looking out the window.”

      Sorry, I don’t get what you are saying. Can you explain?

      1. You mean its not obvious to you why its easy for Hamilton to be Jumbo and not Rosberd or Hulkunberg?

        1. You mean its not obvious to you why its easy for Hamilton to be Jumbo and not Rosberd Rosberg or Hulkunberg

        2. Perhaps if you just said what you mean in straight language?

  40. mclaren not only used illegal Ferrari blue prints, detailed test documents etc. but in some races they were also aware when ferrari drivers will pit in.

    1. “He’s the same person who told us in Australia that Kimi (Raikkonen) was stopping in lap 18. He’s very friendly with Mike Coughlan, our chief designer and he told him that.”

    2. The FIA’s investigation into the design of the 2008 McLaren concluded that the team were planning to use systems which “appear to have been developed by McLaren as a result of the receipt of confidential Ferrari information”.

    “It has become clear that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated,” the team said on its website.

    “McLaren has written to the WMSC to apologise that it has taken an FIA investigation to find this information and have expressed our deep regret that our understanding of the facts was improved as a result of the FIA inspection rather than our own investigations.”

  41. Ordered the book, should be interesting !?

    1. Don’t bother.

  42. Accidental Mick
    25th February 2011, 9:29

    I think that the book leaves several unanswered questions. Perhaps somebody with a better long term memory knows the answers.

    1. When Ecclestone failed as a racing driver, he tried to be a success as a team owner (also a failure). He bought (I believe) the Brabham team. Mosely was his company lawyer and Dennis was the Chief Mechanic. Did the antipathy between them start there. Ecclestone acknowledges that “Dennis is a better man than I will ever be” so was it Dennis’s ethical behaviour refusing to do something the slimy duo wanted?

    2. Mosely got to be president of the FIA partly by the lobbying and arm-twisting of Ecclestone. Mosely then sold the sole broadcaster rights to Ecclestone for a ridiculously low sum. It was this act that gave Ecclestone his power base. BUT, who said the FIA had those rights in the first place and did Mosely get anything from it?

    3. Ecclestone then sold the rights on to CVC at an enourmous profit. Did Mosely see any of that?

    As perhaps is obvious, I despise Ecclestone and Mosely and do not believe the have done anything good for the sport. All the safety improvements have come because people like Jackie Stewart (when he was spokesman for the drivers) pushed for them. The better TV coverage is down to improvements in technology. Ecclestone is just very clever at manipulating the media and no-one will call him on it because he will get them banned from the pit lane.

    1. Ecclestone wasn’t collaborating on a wart’s and all tome, merely putting in the public domain what he has no problem with the public knowing.

      He wouldn’t be explaining his part in the Gribkowsky affair or for that matter many other issues of malfeasance involving his partner in crime Mosely. But what does it say about the man that his reputation even back in the eighties allowed the Mayor of Moscow with impunity approach him with a clearly illegal scheme?

    2. Stewart, Ecclestone, and Mosely all pushed for improved safety, Stewart being the instigator and public face of the effort. He couldn’t have done it without Ecclestone and Mosely.

      I wouldn’t say that Ecclestone was a failure as a team owner. Brabham won a lot of races and two WDCs with Piquet under Ecclestone, and they missed out on at least one WCC only because they were swapping engines.

      I’m not a fan of Ecclestone and Mosely, either, but give credit where credit is due.

  43. My theory on Jumbo:

    It’s a collection of impressions. The sound of “Jumbo” hints slyly at “Sambo”. “Jumbo” also implies some kind of clumsiness, perhaps Lewis’s naivety after being thrust into the limelight at a young age. And finally “Jumbo” implies a kind of exaggerated size, suggestive of Lewis’s perceived brashness as a rookie.

    Or, it could just be his wang.

    1. Okay, I have to admit that made me laugh out loud.

  44. None of these revelations really comes as that much of a surprise though does it? If Alonso informed Briatore of the emails, and lets face it, it didn’t even involve his team, how many other people did Fernando mouth off too?
    Not one of these people can come out of this with their reputations intact because this exposes them for the hypocrites they really are. Anyone would think that they were incharge of a golf country club, not one of the most popular sports series on earth. Pathetic!

  45. Jumbo refers to his trunk in his shorts. He was getting into the car one weekend and the camera panned to his mid section while making an adjustment. Needless to say he reached fairly low to grab it. And Ferrari kept Stepney even after he put white powder in the Ferrari’s. Why???

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