Ahead of his bribery trial in Germany that begins later this month, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that a group of F1 teams are talking about buying a stake in the Grand Prix series.
Ecclestone stressed to Bloomberg that the talks were, at this point, “just a conversation” and “may not go anywhere.” He also said that he himself was not a part of these talks.
“We’ll see what the group comes up with,” said Ecclestone, who didn’t identify the teams involved and also added that he didn’t know which team started the talks. “Maybe they will get enough together to buy shares.”
Bloomberg reached out to Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and CVC Capital Partners, which owns the biggest stake in the series. However, a Ferrari spokesperson declined to comment while the others hadn’t returned a message back.
A few days ago, Ecclestone indicated to the Financial Times that he’d like to partner with the teams in order to become the series’ controlling shareholders.
While CVC controls 35 percent of F1 shares, Ecclestone himself only holds a stake of 5 percent.
In January, Ecclestone said he would continue to run F1’s day-to-day operations through the trial, which stems from an alleged $44m bribe to a German banker who played a key role in selling a major stake in F1 to the CVC group.
Ecclestone has admitted to the payment but said he did it because the banker, Gerhard Gribowsky, was threatening to expose his tax affairs to authorities.
In February, an £85 million damages claim against him was dismissed.