Ecclestone faces new investigation as High Court trial begins

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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.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.