CVC Capital Partners, the owners of Formula One, have been ordered to release hundreds of documents as a German media group pursues them in court for damages of $171 million.
Constantin Medien claim a stake held in F1 by the BayernLB bank was undervalued when CVC purchased F1 in 2006. The case will begin in October.
The Financial Times reported CVC will have to hand over due diligence reports on F1, items from a letter Bernie Ecclestone sent to CVC about F1’s income, CVC application for a loan, minutes of meetings, financial modeling and tax information.
Among those expected to be called as witnesses are Ecclestone, F1’s chief financial officer Duncan Llowarch and CVC co-chairman Duncan MacKenzie. Ecclestone’s lawyers say the stake was sold for a fair price.
The case comes at a sensitive time for F1’s owners as Ecclestone faces charges of bribing German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of F1 to CVC.
The timing of the Constantin Medien case is set to coincide with CVC and Ecclestone’s plan to float F1 on the Singapore stock exchange later this year and could jeopardize their plans. A previous attempt to float F1 last year was postponed due to volatility in world markets.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.