Ecclestone paid team bosses $10-million each to sign 1998 Concorde Agreement

Bernie Ecclestone with Eddie Jordan

Bernie Ecclestone with Eddie Jordan

Bernie Ecclestone’s long reign at the top of Formula 1 could end over an alleged multi-million ‘bribe’ paid to jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

As the circumstances surrounding that payment are probed this week in London’s high court, it emerged that more payments – ‘which might also be described as bribes’ – were paid by Ecclestone to well-known team bosses some years ago.

The court heard on Thursday that Eddie Jordan, now a BBC pundit, quadruple world champion Alain Prost, and the late Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw – all former Formula 1 team owners – were each paid $10 million to sign the 1998 Concorde Agreement.

The money was reportedly paid straight from Ecclestone’s Bambino family trust into the bosses’ personal bank accounts, not to their respective Formula 1 teams.

Bernie Ecclestone with Alain Prost

Bernie Ecclestone with Alain Prost

“They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign. Isn’t that right?” the lawyer for German media company Constantin asked the Formula 1 chief executive in court.

“Yes,” Ecclestone agreed.

It also emerged on Thursday that, although Ecclestone claims that he only paid Gribkowsky because he was threatening to tip off British tax authorities, Gribkowsky in fact felt physically threatened by the now 83-year-old.

Constantin’s lawyer said Gribkowsky felt he was “under some sort of physical threat” from Ecclestone and had even consulted with Munich police.

Meanwhile, in another case of Formula 1’s past being dredged up in 2013, former Ferrari team manager Nigel Stepney this week claimed the Italian team knowingly cheated in order to win the opening grand prix of 2007.

The Briton, who was a leading figure in that year’s infamous ‘spygate’ scandal, told Racecar Engineering that the car driven to victory by Kimi Raikkonen had an illegal moveable floor.

“I like to try to win on a fair basis but when I was there I disagreed with something that was going on within Ferrari,” revealed Stepney, who now runs the sports car team JRM Racing. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Richard Piers

    No wonder they all think he’s so b**** marvellous.
    Good riddance asap.
    Lets get back to sensible regulations and cut out the nonsense.

  • Peter

    So Nick Heidfeld is the WC of 2007. What a mess that year in F1. I feel for Kimi that he was driving a illegal car. Strip Ferrari and give the WC 2007 to BMW. The only right move for this FIA.

  • Urko

    If this guy won’t get sentenced then there’s something wrong with this world.

  • Kimi attacked again

    The press really has a full blown hard on for Kimi right now. This piece is about Bernie and his scandal yet the writer finds a way at the end to dig up old BS about Kimi and Ferrari. McLaren had the chance to protest that race and they declined to do so.

    End of story.

    As for Bernie it is far past time for him to step down.

  • Lee

    If the first race is a fix and Kimi is stripped of the win, then that makes Alonso world champion. Right?

  • Loose the rug Bernie you’re 83 years old now

    It is time for Bernie to loose the rug he wears, the man is 83 years old and wears a rug on his head thinking it makes him look hip. It is a bad rug as well.

  • Sushant

    If this is the case then they should handover the WDC title to Lewis Hamilton…. :)

  • Red Bull Cheats

    F1 rules = if the cheating is not caught in the season then the standings are unchanged. That’s how Red Bull work it. They cheat knowing if they get away with it, even if later it comes out, nothing can be done to change the outcome.

  • JPSmoove

    Corruption. How can anyone be sure the whole thing is not fixed! The championship goes to the highest bidder and so on and so on!

  • TT

    No point talking about the Ferraris being illegal back in 2007, because it wasn’t. The car was scrutinized after the first race, and the outcome was that Ferrari was told to change the construction of the floor plate, which they did. That’s it, no protests were filed, end of story. These kinds of clarifications and adjustments of the rules have happened all the time over the course of the f1 seasons to almost every team, nothing new here. As some might remember, many teams have had problems with the rules about wings flexing, rear diffusors, exhaust pipes and so on..One could find tens of specific examples among the f1 news since 2007 to date, but who cares?

    Lee, why should Alonso be the Champion, he was only third that year?