F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone told a court on Tuesday that "a multi-million dollar payment to a jailed German banker was designed to buy the man's silence and not linked to the sale of the motor sport business," according to Jörn Poltz of REUTERS. Given detailed evidence for the first time in his bribery trial, Ecclestone "repeated earlier statements that the payment to former BayernLB chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky was an insurance policy after the German put him under pressure over his tax affairs." Ecclestone: "I was a little sarcastic when I asked would 50 million help you? It was the cheapest insurance policy I have ever seen." Ecclestone, who denies wrongdoing, "could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty and a conviction would end his long grip on the business." The case began in April and "is expected to run until at least October" (REUTERS, 7/15)
Leagues and Governing Bodies
F1 teams "have failed to agree unanimously to delay a ban on FRIC suspension until the end of the season," according to Jonathan Noble of AUTOSPORT. The situation means that the door "is now open for protests to be lodged at this weekend's German Grand Prix against any outfit that runs with the front-and-rear-interconnected suspension concept." Although a majority of the teams were in favor of such an agreement, some of F1's smaller outfits "were more reluctant to allow FRIC to remain for the rest of the campaign." Their stance is understood "to have prompted some of the big squads that initially were willing to go along with a delay to change their view -- ending all hopes of a deal happening" (AUTOSPORT, 7/15).