Formula 1 - Mercedes welcome Ecclestone trial settlement

Formula One needs a strong leader and Bernie Ecclestone's $100 million court settlement to end a bribery trial in Germany is positive for the sport's future, Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said on Saturday.

Reuters
Formula 1 - Mercedes welcome Ecclestone trial settlement
.

View photo

Bernie Ecclestone ist nach einer Zahlung von 100 Millionen Dollar ein freier Mann.

"I think what is important is stability in Formula One," the Austrian told reporters after his drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, title rivals, qualified first and second at the Belgian Grand Prix.

"I have seen a very strong Bernie coming back from the (August) shutdown, after the court case. The court case has been settled and this is good news," he added.

"For us it's important to have a strong guy, a strong leader and good discussions. We had one of these today."

Team bosses and the sport's 83-year-old commercial supremo Ecclestone held a meeting in the Mercedes paddock hospitality unit before qualifying, their first since the Briton agreed the settlement with the Munich court earlier this month.

The agreement meant Ecclestone preserved his status of innocence and was spared the prospect of having to make regular appearances in Germany while trying to manage the global multi-billion dollar sport.

Ecclestone had gone on trial in April over allegations he paid a $44 million bribe to a former German banker to facilitate the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years previously.

Private equity group CVC, the largest shareholder in Formula One with 35 percent, had said Ecclestone would have been fired if found guilty. Corporate governance is also a major concern for the likes of Mercedes.

Ecclestone told reporters in Spa on Thursday that he would return to the board and continue the running of the sport as he had done before.

Wolff said CVC and the Briton were looking into the governance and future management of Formula One.

"I am sure there is lots of talking behind the scenes, what's going on in the future. But for us it is very good that Bernie is fully concentrated, back in shape, strong in leading that organisation at that stage," he said.

There have been reports in recent months that John Malone's Liberty Global and Discovery Communications were in talks over buying a combined 49 percent stake held by CVC and Lehman Brothers Holdings.

CVC have also been linked to a possible initial public offering (IPO) of Formula One but that too was seen as being on hold pending the outcome of Ecclestone's trial.

View comments (11)
  • Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston on Friday to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play. Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's. England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs. More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Liverpool offload Rickie Lambert after just one unproductive season at Anfield More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Inter Milan have signed Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City, although there were conflicting reports as to whether it was a loan or permanent switch. More »

    Eurosport - 5 hours ago
  • Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Who replaces Sepp Blatter? These key questions and more are answered on this week's episode of The Rail, as Spencer is joined by football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem. More »

    Copa90 - 5 hours ago
  • No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Games officials meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan's Almaty, in a clear sign that the International Olympic Committee is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches. While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible. More »

    Reuters - 7 hours ago