Ecclestone admits paying Gribkowsky

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone appears in court over Gerhard Gribkowsky payment.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ecclestone Flailing Sees Formula One as Prey for Murdoch-Agnelli Takeover (Bloomberg)

“A person familiar with the situation counters that the bid was very much alive as of mid-October. That individual says News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch, the 39-year- old son of CEO Rupert, and Exor chief executive John Elkann, 35, are actively courting racing-team owners and working on a 5- to 10-year business plan for Formula One.”

Ecclestone admits paying Gribkowsky (FT, registration required)

“It would have been a disaster for me. They would unravel the lot. There was a large amount of money at stake and it would have been so easy for [HM Revenue and Customs] to assess me and put the burden on me to prove that it wasn’t correct… I couldn’t afford to take the risk, simple as that.”

Bernie Ecclestone ‘lied’ about F1 bribe (Daily Telegraph)

“Mr Ecclestone’s allegation that the payments related to threats… rather than to the disposal of the BayernLB holding is untrue.”

A podium to complete the collection (Ferrari)

Fernando Alonso: “I’m sure that the most frequent question in tomorrow’s press briefings will be about my return to the Yas Marina circuit after last year’s race. It would not be honest if I told you I won’t be a bit uncomfortable thinking about it tomorrow morning when I see the paddock for the first time.”

Abu Dhabi Test Line-Up Confirmed (Williams)

“The team will run Valtteri Bottas and Mirko Bortolotti during the young driver test days in Abu Dhabi on 15, 16 and 17 November 2011.”

Giedo van der Garde via Twitter

“Many people asking me about F1, the only thing what I can say is we are very busy, and pushing hard for it! It’s [going to] be interesting times.”

So.. about the F1 posters… (PJ Tierney)

“I got an email yesterday morning and the news was good! I won’t go into details for confidentiality reasons but basically FOM have said it’s okay for me to promote and sell the ‘stripped down’ versions of the F1 posters, provided I make it 100% clear to people that they’re unofficial and have nothing to do with FOM.”

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Comment of the day

John H on importing Formula 1 to new countries:

Compare Brazil 2008 (the passion, the love of F1, the weather, the fantastic track) with the championship decider at Abu Dhabi in 2010 (artificial, no racing history, no weather, etc…) which in fact should have been even better given the fantastic championship we had.

I don’t buy the argument that they will get a racing history by having an F1 race because all places have to start somewhere. Yes they do, but they need to walk before they can run because otherwise there is nothing deeper behind the facade, just Bernie turning up with loads of classic cars and racing drivers solely because they are getting paid a sheds load of oil money.

Passion for motorsport needs to start at a grass roots level and evolve a gradual interest in the sport over time like it has done in Europe and South America.

To quote Paul McCartney, “you can’t buy me love”.

(Of course, a decent circuit wouldn’t do any harm either)
John H

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Lucien_Todutz!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Five years ago today Williams signed Kazuki Nakajima as a test driver.

He drove for the team from 2007-2009 before being dropped. It has recently been announced he will race for Toyota’s Le Mans team next year.

Author information

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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36 comments on “Ecclestone admits paying Gribkowsky”

  1. The French media are reporting that Charles Pic has been signed to Marussia for 2012, and will be announced at Interlagos.

    1. Heh, I didn’t even see the list of forum discussions when I posted that.

    2. It’d be great for F1 to have a French driver again. I think there’s always been a French driver at every single race until Panis retired in 2004 or something… I remember the commentators saying that back then.

      1. I said this in the thread where we discussed the notion of Karun Chandhok racing in India to take advantage of the Indian interest in the sport: a driver should not be contracted by the team based purely on his nationality. That goes for French drivers just as much as it does Indian drivers or even Bhutanese drivers. Yes, it would be nice to have a French driver in the sport – but if there are no French drivers who are talented enough to race, then I’m not too bothered by it.

        1. i disgree, romain groesan should be in f1 next year. he performed very well in gp2 this year and i think he has grown up alot from his stint with renault in 09

          1. You misunderstand me, @harvs – I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a French driver on the grid; I’m saying that if there are twenty-four seats on the grid, and the highest-ranked Frenchman is twenty-fifth, then I’m not going to be too upset if he misses out on a seat. Drivers should be chosen on the basis of their talent, not their nationality.

          2. Yea I re-read your comment after I posted, and I agree with you bout the talent nationalality issue. Rust something i have noticed with Red Bull driver academy, every driver that has been promoted to f1 through the driver academy is of a different nationality, coincidence?

          3. I think Scott Speed and Christian Klein might have been chosen for the program because of their nationalities, but it looks like most of the others have been chosen based on talent.

          4. I think its a combination of both, why would Red Bull want to have two German drivers in one team? when the can have a German driver and a driver from a different country opening up more marketing opportunities (for example).

          5. The only problem with that is that very few drivers have actually graduated to Formula 1. And there are only a handful of Red Bull-related seats to go around. Some drivers, like Mirko Bortolotti and Mikhail Aleshin and Mika Maki were dropped before they made it to Formula 1. And then you’ve got two Australians in Formula 1 – Webber and Ricciardo.

        2. @prisoner-monkeys that’s a different matter. I didn’t say “F1 needs a french driver”, I just pointed out that it’d be nice to see a driver from such nationality.

          But I agree with you. No matter the nation, F1 should have the best drivers in the world. If all of them are from Java, then Java it is!

      2. I think there’s always been a French driver at every single race until Panis retired in 2004 or something

        What about Sebastien Bourdais – he raced for Toro Rosso the entire 2008 season.

        1. What about him? What he’s saying is that between 1950 and 2004, there was a French driver at every Grand Prix. But when Olivier Panis retired at the end of 2004, there were no French drivers in the sport until Franck Montagny drove for Super Aguri at the 2006 European Grand Prix.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys Can he really bring anything that D’Ambrosio hasn’t? He’s alright but hardly set GP2 on fire. Assuming of course that Glock is staying put…

    4. Wrong decision IMO.

  2. I asked the lady at Sears if their cooking pans were coated in Ecclestone. She asked me what Ecclestone was I and I said it was like Teflon and that nothing would ever stick to it. Nothing ever sticks to Bernie and this court stuff will end sooner than later….

    1. I reckon something might stick this time, it’s slightly suspicious that Bernie needed to be shaken down to achieve something he desperately wanted: selling the rights for billions yet retaining control. Not only that but he got a little ‘thank you’ at the end which meant he wasn’t even out of pocket! I wish I could be the victim of this kind of blackmail!!!

  3. Good to see those epic posters will go on sale, even if they are “stripped down” versions. One thing is for sure, my wallet will take a hammering…

    1. I was slightly sad @pjtierney had to strip those posters down, but having looked at them again, now they are in some ways even more stunning.

      I can’t imagine not having some of the money go to FOM for them doesn’t seem a problem anyone would worry about but FOM, really. Glad to hear they saw sense in this.

      1. I was talking with Xander Walker (strassenversion) who also does a lot of automotive art and he had some great words of advice that he picked up from some higher profile F1 artists.

        I think when it comes down to it the issue with my original posters was that they were tied to the events (with the date, calendar etc.) in question as well as containing graphical elements that would potentially fool people into thinking they were official. Still, the person I was talking to from FOM was very helpful and understanding, even offering me some advice on the elements that FOM don’t own (like circuit maps).

        Anyways, I’m working on the redesigns this week and you can spot them in the (F1) forum, as well as on my Twitter @PJ_Tierney. :)

  4. Bernis payong gribowsly is the headline?! Come on keith, Formula one is being negotiated in a sale to the murdoch’s!! Surely something that will actually affect us as fans and viewers comes over a dodgy deal be bernie…

    1. Come on keith, Formula one is being negotiated in a sale to the murdoch’s!!

      There is no evidence of that, @timi – only speculation. I believe this is the article you’re referring to? Nowhere does it say that a sale is being negotiated. In fact, this is as far as it comes:

      The greatest threat of all to Ecclestone’s dominance could come from a looming takeover bid.

      Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the Agnelli family’s Exor SpA (EXO) want to buy the 63.4 percent of Formula One owned by London- based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. through its Jersey, Channel Islands-based holding company Delta Topco Ltd.

      It only says that Murdoch-Agnelli wants to buy the sport, not that Formula 1 is for sale, and nor that there is a sale being negotiated. In fact, the Murdoch-Agnelli consortium has been trying to buy the sport for some time. Nothing has come of it.

      And if you actually read the article from Bloomberg, they point to the Gribkowsky case – the same Gribkowsky case that you claim is not news – as being a sign that Bernie’s position with CVC is weakened, paving the way for the possible sale (the one that you claim is currently happening).

      I don’t know how long you’ve been a member here, but once you’ve been around for a while, you’ll realise that Keith does not present speculation as fact. If there is indeed a sale, Keith won’t report on it until it is actually confirmed. Until then, it probably wouldn’t hurt you to do some reading before you make wild claims like this.

      1. Surely something that will actually affect us as fans and viewers comes over a dodgy deal be bernie…

        Also, I dispute this. The article about a possible sale to Murdoch-Agnelli points out that the Murdochs are approaching the teams to come up with a draft agreement that would be introduced in the event of a sale. So the teams would get a lot of say in how the commercial side of the sport is handled. How is this automatically a bad thing?

        1. It’s great until the



          I think you are vastly underestimating the bad karma that comes from the Murdoch family. Especially as they are trying to control both the product and the distrebution. Which is, I might add, never a good thing long term.

    2. @timi

      Formula one is being negotiated in a sale to the murdochs

      As has been the case for the last few months.

  5. Ecclestone is obviously lying to the court, the UK tax authorities are not going to find any wrongdoing in relation the the Bambino trust. This is simply a false alibi to cover what everyone knows happened, he paid Gribkowsky to sell him F1 on the cheap.

    1. That’s a pretty serious allegation to make. Do you have any evidence to back that up? I shouldn’t have to say it, but your dislike of Ecclestone and the way he runs Formula 1 is not evidence. I’m bemused that you assume Ecclestone is lying, considering that the German prosecutors offered him immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.

  6. Anyone seen this article from The Sun? The headline is complete nonsense when you read the quotes from Lewis. Absolutely shocking journalism. No idea how they’re allowed to twist things like that.

    Also, check out Jenson Button’s tweet from earlier on! No prizes for guessing which tabloid newspaper is responsible for it. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from them that isn’t like this, though. It’s beyond ridiculous.

    1. The basic rule of newspapers is to just bin anything with a red top. If I want reliable F1 news I come here for it, simple as :)

    2. Lewis Hamilton: “I’ll blow Felipe Massa out of the water!”

      In tomorrow’s edition …

      The Sun: “We’ll blow anything out of proportion!”

  7. So Bernie says something along the lines of “I paid him so he wouldn’t do anything harmful to my interests. It wasn’t a bribe.”

    *checks dictionary*

    *looks at article*

    *checks dictionary again*

    Ummm…. Bernie…?

    1. @hairs

      “It would have been a disaster for me. They would unravel the lot. There was a large amount of money at stake and it would have been so easy for [HM Revenue and Customs] to assess me and put the burden on me to prove that it wasn’t correct… I couldn’t afford to take the risk, simple as that.”

      Where does Ecclestone specifically say “it was not a bribe”?


        As I stated, my words were “Something along the lines of” not “quoted in the article”.

    2. Supposedly the trick is in the legal speak. If Gribowsky only hinted he might give some lead to tax Authorities, and Bernie went to send him money just to make sure he discouraged Gribowsky, technically there was no bribe nor was there extortion.

      That it boils down to much the same and does leave a lot to be learnt about what went on between these two is probably the reason why this is before a court.
      It seems that the background of it all might have been the Kirsch administrator’s interest in proving FOM was sold below its worth to get their money (and that might involve German tax autorities getting some as well).

  8. I’ve got to say I find the whole Ecclestone bribery topic tiresome, I’ve been blocking it out for a couple of weeks now. Lets face it, Bernie’s time in F1 is numbered (he’s unlikely to live forever after all), so the more interesting question is not what will happen in this case, but what will happen when he’s gone?

  9. Comment of the day trully deserved.

Comments are closed.