Ecclestone upset by witness testimony

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

According to an observer reporting for the Austrian press agency APA, Formula 1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone was visibly upset while listening to a witness as his corruption trial continued in Munich on Wednesday.

The witness had advised car manufacturers like Ferrari and Daimler at about the same time as Ecclestone paid Gerhard Gribkowsky the alleged $44 million bribe.

Ecclestone argues that Gribkowsky was effectively extorting him, but the prosecutors say the 83-year-old was in a mood of desperately clinging to power.

Wednesday’s witness did not seem to help the diminutive Briton’s case. The witness said that key manufacturers involved in Formula 1 were seriously threatening to split from the series and set up their own motor racing category.

The witness added that some saw Ecclestone as a key to the success of a premier motor racing series, and had no intention of proceeding without him.

But others were apparently less bothered, or even happy with the thought of Ecclestone no longer being involved, which could have meant the freeing up of more commercial income.

According to APA, as the translator relayed the testimony to Ecclestone in English, the Formula 1 supremo “shook his head several times, puffed out his cheeks and made notes”. (GMM)