Bernie Ecclestone is standing trial accused of arranging a sale of Formula One in 2005 which was below its market value in order to retain his control of the sport.
Constantin Medien, formerly a stakeholder in F1, has brought the case alleging Ecclestone’s $820m sale to CVC Capital Partners undervalued the property, losing them money. The German media company is seeking over $100m in damages.
Ecclestone, who did not attend the first day of proceedings in London’s High Court yesterday, refutes the charges. He has already been indicted in Germany for paying $44m to jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.
Constantin Medien’s lawyers argued the indictment showed Ecclestone had participated in a “corrupt bargain” but Mr Justice Newey said it was “hard to see about how the indictment can play any role in these proceedings”.
While Ecclestone remains embroiled in legal deliberations in Germany another front in his contests with the courts has opened in Switzerland. An investigation will probe the nature of Ecclestone’s payment to Gribkowsky to judge whether it violated Swiss law.
The cases are being closely watched to see what details of Formula One’s clandestine and labyrinthine finances are revealed, and whether Ecclestone’s position as chief executive officer of Formula One Group is placed in jeopardy. He has previously admitted CVC would “probably have to get rid of me” if he were convicted.
Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott will start the 64th Macau Grand Prix from pole position after beating his Formula 3 rivals to victory in Saturday’s qualification race.
Ilott, 19, started third on the grid on Saturday behind pole-sitter Joel Eriksson and McLaren junior Lando Norris, but made a good start to rise to second early on.
Ilott hounded Eriksson for position for much of the race before battling past at Mandarin on Lap 7 as his Swedish rival struggled to keep his tires alive.
With Eriksson unable to respond, Ilott ultimately crossed the line more than seven seconds clear to take his first Macau win and secure pole for Sunday’s main event.
“We started quite strong as I got up to second from third which was not too bad. Then in the middle part of the race I had a good pace and I got past Joel for P1,” Ilott said.
“After that I managed to pull away. It was a good race, even quite relaxing at the end. I’m really happy for the result. Thank you SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, they did a great job and it should be good for tomorrow too.”
Eriksson held on to second ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who completed the podium ahead of Maximilian Günther in P4.
Ferdinand Habsburg finished fifth ahead of Pedro Piquet, while Norris was left to settle for a lowly P7 after a clutch issue off the line caused him to drop down the order.
You can see full results from the Macau F3 qualifying race here.