Formula 1 News

Ecclestone could be forced out

The bribery case handled by the German prosecutors keeps its course, and charges might be filed.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January, 2nd 2013 (F1plus Team).- The drama continues for Bernie Ecclestone, and everything that has to do with him usually relates to Formula 1. 

Ecclestone has admitted that he would likely be removed from his role as Formula 1 boss or "Supremo" as he is also known, if he faces further action over the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery case.

The old time F1 rulling chief, still waits the decision from the from German prosecutors over whether or not they will charge him amid allegations that he paid a bribe to Gribkoswky over the sale of F1 to CVC in 2006. Interestingly, Gribkowsky is already in jail for this. 

Ecclestone replicates that a 45 million Euro payment he made to Gribkowsky was not bribery, but German prosecutors seem to think differently and are still investigating if corruption charges could be filed.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Ecclestone conceded that in case of an action being taken against him then his running of Formula 1 would likely be done.

Speaking about what CVC (Formula 1 comercial rights owners) would do if he was charged, Ecclestone said: "It will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It's pretty obvious, if I'm locked up."

Regardless of the current legal issue, most probably CVC has already started to plan a succession plan for what happens when Ecclestone is no longer in charge, but the man himself does not believe its actions are cause to feel that it is looking to ease him out. 

Ecclestone was not specific, but it has been reported that the headhunter firm Egon Zehnder has been hired to compile a list of candidates. 

"They said they had hired a head-hunter to find somebody in the event that I was not going to be there - if I was going to die or something. It is the normal thing they do to keep people happy," he said.

Ecclestone's comments about his future come just a few weeks after Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo suggested that change would be needed if German prosecutors acted.

The Italian has been at odds with the "supremo" for a while now. A verbal exchange between the two came at the end of the season when Ecclestone called a "joke" Ferrari's inquiry about Vettel's overtake of Vergne in Brazil. 

"First of all, I hope for Bernie and F1 that nothing will happen," said di Montezemolo during a pre-Christmas media lunch. "If Bernie is accused under process I think he will be the first to give a step back in the interests of Formula 1. This could be bad for F1."

Di Montezemolo reckoned that the time had come for new younger management to take over the running of F1, so it could build a stronger future. 

"We need people with a more modern view. It is the same in my company. In a couple of years I will no longer be the person for Ferrari. Someone else will come.

"What I always say to Bernie is that the one-man show in life is finished. You need a team around you. We have to ask these questions in a positive way and look ahead. Sooner or later it will happen to Bernie as to me."

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