CVC not expected to float F1 amid corruption scandal

(L to R): Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo and Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky, the majority shareholder of SLEC holdings. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 20 August 2005. DIGITAL IMAGEOct.24 (GMM) Former motor racing chief Andrew Craig has predicted that Formula One’s owners will “sit tight” rather than float the sport while Bernie Ecclestone is embroiled in the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal.

While German prosecutors are currently considering whether to charge F1’s long-time chief executive with corruption, owner CVC has delayed the stock market floatation of its sport, citing adverse market conditions as their reason for the postponement.

But Craig, who was CEO of the now-defunct US open wheeler series CART throughout the category’s premier success until 2000, has told leading F1 business journalist Christian Sylt that he sees a link between the stalled floatation and Ecclestone’s legal troubles.

“CVC’s best option,” he told Sylt, “may be to sit tight until after the criminal case is resolved.”

And that, according to widespread sources and even Ecclestone himself, could take a long time.

Ecclestone told Sylt and Eurosport: “I don’t see how [the case] can come to an end really.”

Sylt quoted someone close to CVC as saying: “It’s hard to know [if the prosecutors are going to press charges against Ecclestone].

“Bernie is pretty blase about it. It’s hard to know to be honest.”

It was reported in the German press earlier in October that one solution could be Mercedes recruiting other influential players in F1 to push for Ecclestone’s removal as chief executive.

“We would not wait for a months-long process, but [we] would act,” a Mercedes source told the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

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