Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed reports that BayernLB – claiming the damages amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal – has asked him to pay $400 million.
“I did not respond,” the F1 chief executive, speaking in India, is quoted by the Financial Times.
The 81-year-old is quoted by Reuters as insisting he is prepared to go to court over the demand: “Yeah, absolutely,” said the Briton. The Telegraph quoted Ecclestone as saying he has become “aggravated” by the Gribkowsky affair.
“But there’s nothing to worry about,” he said.
That, however, is not the feeling in the F1 paddock, with senior figures believing Ecclestone will be lucky to survive the corruption scandal with his job. The Times reports that CVC, the sport’s owner, had – amid the recent and ultimately delayed plans to float F1 – commissioned executive search firm Egon Zehnder International to write up a list of possible successors for Ecclestone.
DPA news agency said one candidate for the top job might be Sauber shareholder and new team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.
“The fact is I am very happy in my current job and still have very big targets for it,” she insisted. “So there are no plans in that direction.”
And Ecclestone said he is not planning to step down.
“I’ve been under a cloud for three years,” he said ahead of the Indian grand prix, “but there’s nothing to stop me running F1.”
But what about the risk that, if he is charged and then convicted by German prosecutors, he is sent to jail?
“I hope not,” Ecclestone answered. “I wouldn’t complain about German prisons, but I’d rather not be in one anywhere to be honest.”
Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Friday that Ecclestone has, through his lawyers, now offered to travel to Munich to give testimony to the German public prosecutor.