F1’s bribery scandal could cost the sport the involvement of German carmaker Mercedes.
Mercedes, with its own Brackley based works team and also a major engine supplier, is watching the Gerhard Gribkowsky affair with particular attention, according to the business newspaper Handelsblatt. The report said the affair, and particularly the implication of F1’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, would have “serious consequences” with regards to Mercedes’ involvement in the sport.
Senior Daimler officials are reportedly very concerned that, in the event the corruption is proved, Mercedes’ continuing involvement would be disallowed due to the Stuttgart marque’s strict anti-corruption statutes. Namely, Daimler “does not tolerate the immoral or corrupt practices of its employees or its business partners”, the statutes read.
Laurenz Schmitt, a corporate lawyer for Linklaters in Munich, confirmed that “Ecclestone’s bribery payments would fall under this company guideline”.
Another legal expert agrees that “If Ecclestone is charged with bribery, Daimler would have to withdraw from F1”.
A Mercedes spokesperson told Bild newspaper: “We welcome the evaluation of the recent allegations in formula one and now await the clarification of the authorities.”
DPA news agency said closing arguments in the Gribkowsky trial are being given now.