Ecclestone fights to keep $650m bribe case out of US courts

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Bernie Ecclestone is fighting to keep his latest court case from being tried in the United States.

Bluewater Communications Holdings accuses Ecclestone of costing it $650 million by paying a $44million bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in 2006 to secure F1’s sale to CVC Capital Partners, its current owners.

Bluewater claimed in November it should have won the bid for F1 as its offer was “10 percent above any genuine bona fide offer put forward by any other competing buyer”.

Ecclestone claims the fact his payment to Gribkowsky was paid in dollars, from a Swiss bank to an Austrian bank, does not give US courts jurisdiction over the case.

Nor, he added, does Bluewater’s claim their losses were partly inflicted in the state of New York.

“His claim is an absurd claim,” said Ecclestone of the case last year. “He didn’t know that the other bidders were going to pay.”

Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in June last year for accepting the bribe from Ecclestone. The 82-year-old president and CEO of Formula One Management remains under investigation in Germany but has not been charged.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”