Ecclestone puts brave face on Gribkowsky's £28m bribe confession

 

Valencia

The undercurrents eddying around Formula One held greater interest than the on-track activities in Valencia yesterday.

As investment banker Gerhard Gribkowsky awaits sentence in Germany after confessing to taking a $44m (£28m) bribe, allegedly from Bernie Ecclestone, there has been inevitable speculation whether Ecclestone can escape being dragged further into the sport's latest cause célèbre. It has already led to a delay in the proposed flotation of F1 in Singapore even though the $10bn (£6.4bn) valuation sought by rights holder CVC Capital Partners had been achieved by a recent sale of shareholdings to American investors.

Theoretically if somebody is found guilty of receiving a bribe then the person making the bribe can also be charged but, for Ecclestone, Valencia has been business as usual and he does not appear to have a care in the world. He blamed Gribkowsky for "shaking him down" while testifying at the Bavarian banker's preliminary hearing, and his attorney Sven Thomas issued a statement after Gribkowsky's confession claiming that it would have no impact on the prosecutors' investigation into Ecclestone's dealings.

Gribkowsky will be sentenced next week when final arguments have been heard, and court sources say he can expect a custodial sentence of between seven and nine years.

Meanwhile, dissent continues to foment with regard to capping teams' budgets, and against the proposed new 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engine formula which is scheduled to replace the 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8 engines currently used.

Franz Tost, the head of the small Toro Rosso team, said yesterday: "We are all working to reduce costs and recognise the necessity to do this, but the costs from 2014 onwards will increase with the new powertrains. A resource restriction agreement for them will be even more important than one for the chassis, and I am really worried that the costs will dramatically increase. There are huge development and research costs to create these new packages."

As bookies offered odds of 7-2 that there will be an eighth different race winner this season at this eighth race, Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado and Bahrain GP winner Sebastian Vettel were fastest in each of yesterday's two practice sessions. But neither was dominant. One second covered the first 13 cars in the morning, and the first 15 in the afternoon, with Michael Schumacher, Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, who have yet to win this season, showing strongly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future