Banks, Ecclestone Settle F1 Case

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and three banks have settled a legal battle over control of the sport's commercial rights, both sides said on Wednesday

Banks, Ecclestone Settle F1 Case

Lawyers for both parties appeared in the London High Court to have the settlement confirmed before the case was due to be heard on May 10. It was agreed that details would not be disclosed.

The case would have pitted Formula One Holdings, now controlled by the banks after a first round of legal action last year, against Ecclestone's Formula One Administration (FOA).

The banks, Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers, own 75 percent of Formula One holding company SLEC and want their stake translated into influence over Ecclestone's operating companies, like FOA.

FOA has three board members, one of them Ecclestone and another his lawyer Stephen Mullens.

The banks acquired their stake in SLEC after the collapse of Germany's Kirch media group, which had borrowed some $1.6 billion from them.

Wednesday's settlement left open the question of who controls the sport, with some assuming the banks had gained the upper hand even if the 74-year-old Briton is sure to remain as ringmaster for some time yet.

The billionaire dealmaker has decades of experience in running Formula One and is a key player in a sport threatened by a possible split after an existing commercial agreement expires at the end of 2007.

Should that happen, the banks' investment will be worth very little.

The banks' battle against Ecclestone has been followed closely by carmakers who are threatening to launch a rival series from 2008 if they do not get a greater share of Formula One's commercial income.

"We support any initiative that improves the stability and transparency of the sport, but it doesn't change our strategy," said a spokesman for the soon-to-be-renamed Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) group.

The commercial agreement covering the sport runs out at the end of 2007. World champions Ferrari have already broken ranks with the carmakers to sign a unilateral deal with Ecclestone until 2012.

That deal has led to a new unity among Ferrari's rivals, with Japanese manufacturers Honda and Toyota joining forces with Renault, BMW and Mercedes.

shares
comments
Sato Gets All Clear for Bahrain
Previous article

Sato Gets All Clear for Bahrain

Next article

Davidson on Top at Paul Ricard

Davidson on Top at Paul Ricard
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022