Ecclestone: F1 teams looking at buying stake in series

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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.

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.