F1 boss Ecclestone charged in bribery case

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been charged by German prosecutors with paying a $44 million bribe, placing his future as head of the motor sport series in doubt.

The 82-year-old British billionaire has been under investigation since a German banker was convicted of taking the payment from him in connection with the sale of a stake in F1.

The Munich state court said Ecclestone has until mid-August to respond to charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust in connection with Gerhard Gribkowsky’s management of the bankBayernLB’s 47 percent stake in F1.

Ecclestone, the longtime commercial head of F1, acknowledged during Gribkowsky’s trial in 2011 that he made the payment five years earlier but said he was pressured to do so.

Ecclestone’s indictment was dated on May 10 and has since been translated into English and delivered to Ecclestone and his lawyers, the court said.

”The lawyers have accepted an indictment,” Ecclestone told The Associated Press. ”It means they have to reply to the indictment, which they are strenuously doing.”

Ecclestone, who Forbes magazine reports is worth $3.8 billion, said he is yet to read the indictment.

”They are alleging I bribed someone,” Ecclestone said, while insisting he did ”nothing illegal.”

Sentences in Germany for bribery range from three months to 10 years in prison.

CVC Capital Partners, the investment group that has owned F1’s commercial rights since 2006, issued no direct comment Wednesday about the future of Ecclestone.

”Mr. Ecclestone has six weeks to provide a response to this bill of indictment prior to a decision being made by the court on opening proceedings,” the board of Formula One Group said in a statement. ”The board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly.”

Ecclestone was retained as chief executive of F1 by CVC after it took control of the sport following the takeover that sparked the bribery case.

Gribkowsky was in charge of selling BayernLB’s stake in F1 to CVC.

In addition to taking the money from Ecclestone, Gribkowsky used BayernLB’s funds to pay the F1 chief a commission of $41.4 million and agreed to pay a further $25 million to Bambino Trust, a company with which Ecclestone was affiliated, prosecutors said during the trial in 2011.

Ecclestone told the court he deserved a commission for the sale, saying ”I did a very, very good job.”

On Wednesday, he told the AP: ”They wanted money. I was shaken down by the guys. It’s happened in life before.”

Gribkowsky, who has largely admitted the charges, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after being found guilty last year of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust.

Ecclestone’s German lawyers, Sven Thomas and Norbert Scharf, said they will soon submit a ”comprehensive response” to the court – and the central issue in that response will be ”the varying ‘confessions’ of Mr. Gribkowsky.”

Ecclestone was savvy in building his power base in F1 from the 1970s and helped to create the Formula One Constructors’ Association that controlled the business side of the sport, including selling the TV rights.

The British-based company later became known as Formula One Management. It has fought regular tussles with the teams over finances, but has retained control of the global motor racing series.

CVC, having amassed a 63 percent stake of F1, has reduced its holding as other investors have come on board in recent years, although a planned flotation has stalled.

Ecclestone’s holding has been diluted to about 5 percent.

Geir Mouslon in Munich contributed to this report.

Lorenzo out of German MotoGP, needs more surgery

MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has withdrawn from Sunday’s German grand prix and needs another operation on his left shoulder after he crashed in practice at the Sachsenring on Friday.

 The Spanish Yamaha rider, who is second in this year’s standings behind compatriot Dani Pedrosa of Honda after seven of 18 races, was running quickest in the afternoon session but lost control at turn 10 and landed heavily on his left shoulder.

 “The Mallorcan was taken to the Clinica Mobile, where examinations indicated that the eight screws in his shoulder were in tact but that the titanium plate itself had been bent by the impact,” organisers said on the MotoGP website (www.motogp.com).

 The 26-year-old had the screws and plate inserted two weeks ago after sustaining a broken collarbone in practice for the Assen grand prix and despite the injury flew back to Netherlands after surgeryin Barcelona and finished fifth.

After the setback in Germany, he now faces a race to be fit in time for the U.S. grand prix at Laguna Seca next weekend.

“I have decided to go home and recover after today’s crash at Sachsenring,” Lorenzo said on the Yamaha Factory Racing website (www.yamahamotogp.com).

“I prefer to focus on surgery to fix the plate that was unfortunately bent during the crash. I will try to recover and be back as soon as possible.”

Button Not plan vulturous Target at the Hungaroring

Budapest – McLaren racer Jenson Button calls Hungaroring circuit as a special place for him. But consider the situation now, he was reluctant to put the target is too high for the weekend.

Since career in F1 in 2000, Button could only win the first in 2006. He reached for the Hungarian Grand Prix when racing for Team Honda. Another victory in Hungary achieved Button in 2011, when he was driving for McLaren. Nicks it was no less special for the British driver.

“Circuits great, great place. I have many fond memories of the Hungaroring, of course, because here I won my first race in 2006, which is very full of emotion and seem far away now! I also posted victories in the 200 race there in 2011, “said Button in F1’s official website.

“It was a day in which all goes smoothly, the car drive like a dream, and I could win. Every F1 victory in the special, but that’s one of my favorite days,” he continued.

On weekends he would go back to driving at the Hungaroring race series 10th season in 2013. 10th in the standings this season, with the best performance one finish in the top five, Button seemed not expect much.

“Of course a win in 2013 will be difficult, but I really think the team is currently working hard. In Germany, the use of our tires, strategy, and management of the race running as it should.”

“It would be good if we can get a car with better rates to be more competitive with the leading rider, but at this time we can be satisfied with the best efforts in qualifying and the (race) on Sunday afternoon,” he said.

Vettel Wish Break ‘Curse’ Hungarian GP

Budapest – Hungary GP to be one race that has never been won by Sebastian Vettel in his career. The defending champion is hoping to be able to break the “curse” is before the holiday competition.

In six races in Budapest, Red Bull’s best achievement is just riding on the podium both occurring in 2011. Other four races there ended with a third place finish, once finished fourth and failed to finish once. While on his debut in this series, Vettel finished 16th while still defending Toro Rosso.

This season, Vettel has managed to get his first win as a cage aka GP race win and become champions Germany in Canada.

Vettel, is still firmly on top of the standings with a collection of 157 points, 34 points adrift of Fernando Alonso. Victory in Hungary will keep its distance from the closest rival.

“Hungary has some interesting memories for me,” said three-time world champion was quoted by Reuters.

“It was my first race with the Red Bull family. Lets hope I can add to my memories with a win there for the first time before I vacation,” hope Vettel.

NASCAR plans to simplify rulebook, focus on technology

With an emphasis on efficiency, innovation and transparency, NASCAR unveiled a restructuring of its competition department philosophies Monday that’s scheduled to be completed by 2015.

In a wide-ranging series of initiatives, the sanctioning body plans to simplify its dense rulebook (and possibly make it available online to fans) with more graphical examples and computer-animated drawings, re-examine its appeals process for penalties and streamline its officiating while adding technology in the pits.

The responsibility for designing and developing future models of race cars also will fall under the purview of Gene Stefanshyn, who recently took over as the head of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. This will allow vice president of competition Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup director John Darby to focus on rules enforcement with enhanced deterrence and a revamping of the inspection process.

Stefanshyn and senior vice president Steve O’Donnell both hinted NASCAR, whose Sprint Cup cars employ mostly outdated engine architecture, would move toward its race cars being more relevant under the hood to street models. The Gen 6 car was introduced this year with exterior features more comparable to its showroom counterparts.

“We want to position NASCAR ultimately for the future,” O’Donnell said. “The goal for us would be that as cars come off the manufacturing line in the near future, they certainly look like NASCAR from an aesthetic standpoint when you look at those on track, but just as importantly the technology that’s in those cars mirrors what’s on track, and we really become that proving ground from a technology standpoint.

“We want to be more nimble in what we do from a technology standpoint, be able to quickly react to the emerging technologies. We feel like no better sport is better positioned to really take technology (and) showcase it in front of some of the toughest conditions that exist in the world.

In trying to reduce the “gray area” from its rules, O’Donnell said the sanctioning body will spell out what the specific punishements are for infractions, a la a 5-yard penalty for being offsides in the NFL. Throughout its 65-year history, NASCAR has meted out justice on a case-by-case manner.

NASCAR also will consider an overhaul of its appeals process, which has drawn plenty of scrutiny this season as Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing have had penalties reduced after challenging them.

There currently is a two-tiered appeals process that starts with a hearing before a three-member panel that is chosen from 48 members of the racing industry. Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook hears any final appeals.

O’Donnell said NASCAR would consider matching the expertise of its appeals board with the case.

“We probably put people in some tough positions,” O’Donnell said. “And when you look at track promoters who maybe need to work with a race team or a race owner or a team owner in future weeks, and you’re asking them to come in and make a ruling on a carburetor or something new that they have never heard about, and they’re not experts in that, it puts them in a tough position.

“If we can make that a better process with industry experts, still to be determined how we do that, that’s one area we really felt like we could bring in people who have a better understanding of the emerging technology that’s in the race cars.”

Not Earn Good Results, McLaren: It’s Painful

Jenson Button. (Foto: Reuters)

McLaren director Jonathan Neale, said he was disappointed his team will be winning the Formula One title this season. However, Neale promised to make the team again triumphed in the race’s pole.

Until the ninth series McLaren did not achieve good results despite using the MP4-28 that has been upgraded. Unfortunately, these conditions do not even make McLaren competitive.

So far the two McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez still in position 10 and 12 drivers standings. Meanwhile, the team based in Woking, England, came sixth constructors standings with 49 points.

Seeing these conditions, Neale was deeply shocked and disappointed. Even so, he asked the team not to panic and keep struggling to find a way out to achieve the best results at the next race.

“We have achieved some terms of reliability, operational consistency etc.. But the reality on the race this time we are not competitive and it was very painful. Whereas so far, we have been working very hard to try and do something about it to not repeat the same mistakes the next season, “said Neale reported PlanetF1.

“We have to look at the long term. McLaren has been for 50 years and we have won the race as much as 182 times. So we’ll come back and win any races later.”

“I believe that no one feels satisfied, but we do not have to panic in a situation like this. Therefore, we should seek a way out, “added Neale.

 

De Angelis Replace Spies at Laguna Seca

De Angelis Replace Spies at Laguna Seca
Siena – Alex de Angelis will get the chance to perform again in the MotoGP class. Not yet recovered Ben Spies made ​​De Angelis will race for Pramac Ducati in MotoGP United States.

Spies is still struggling with a shoulder injury after a severe accident at Malaysian MotoGP, in October last year. He can follow the race in Qatar and Austin this year, but then absent.

In the last five series, Spies position was replaced by a Ducati test rider, Michele Pirro. Pirro appeared tolerable and able to get 30 points from the five series.

But, Pirro will not be able to fill the position of U.S. Spies in MotoGP, July 21. The reason, he should follow the test session with Ducati at the Misano Circuit, July 23 to 25.

Therefore, the Pramac Ducati rider pointing De Angelis as a substitute at Laguna Seca. Incidentally, De Angelis also had no agenda on July 21 for the Moto2 class was contested at Laguna Seca.

De Angelis is now competing in the Moto2 and defend the Forward Racing team. Previously, it appeared San Marino rider in the MotoGP class with the Honda Gresini in 2008 and 2009. She also appeared in three series with Interwetten Honda in 2010 to replace the injured Hiroshi Aoyama.

Meanwhile, Spies is still undergoing treatment is expected to comeback in MotoGP Indianapolis, 18 August. The next MotoGP series is the German MotoGP at the Sachsenring circuit, July 14.

Cycling-Strict testing means cycling cleanest sport, says Froome

PARIS, July 22 (Reuters) – Stringent drug testing means cycling is now probably the cleanest sport, Tour de France champion Chris Froome said on Monday.

 Froome is the first rider to win the Tour since American Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles for cheating and, perhaps unsurprisingly given cycling’s drug-tainted past, the Briton found the finger of suspicion pointing at him during the race.

 “The way the sport is now and the way the testing is, it is so, so strict. Each rider has a blood passport where almost on a monthly basis, readings are taken,” Froome said in an interview with Reuters TV the day after his triumph.

“People don’t realise the amount of testing we actually go through. I am confident to say that cycling really must be one of the cleanest sports, if not the cleanest, just because of the way it’s policed and controlled.”

The Team Sky rider had to endure the inevitable questions about doping from the media during the three-week race.

“That did add an aspect, a different aspect to our race that not only were we thinking about the race and the challenges that presented but also that aspect off the bike of having to answer questions about our legitimacy and what we did to get to this point,” the 28-year-old said.

 “I completely understand those questions, it’s normal given the revelations from Lance Armstrong’s era. I am just happy that I have been able to answer those questions and to show people that the sport really has changed,” Froome added.

Kenyan-born Froome now has his sights on September’s world championships in Italy but believes this year’s Tour win could be the first of many after he dominated the 100th edition of the race.

 He became the second successive British winner of the Tour after Bradley Wiggins when he crossed the finish line on the Champs Elysees on Sunday to finish four minutes 20 seconds ahead of Colombian Nairo Quintana in the overall standings.

The mountainous route on this year’s race suited Froome, who is a fantastic climber and a good time trialer, and he finished with three stage wins to his name.

 “It is still a little bit early to be talking about that but the Tour de France is a beautiful race, it is the pinnacle of our cycling calendar and I would love to be back again to try and target future editions,” he said. (Writing by Alison Wildey in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Waiting for “coolest pair” in Formula One

Rumor attraction of Red Bull withdraw from Lotus Kimi Raikkonen continues to grow. The Iceman combination with Sebastian Vettel assessed will be very cool for the world racing pole.

Raikkonen comeback this season acted pretty incredible. Despite a long absence, the Finnish driver is able to penetrate the top three standings F1 Vettel and become a competitor as well as his former team, Ferrari.

It made Raikkonen into one of three candidates who will replace Mark Webber, who decided to retire at the end of the season. Kimi stay competitive with Toro Tosso duo, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

However, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton-Raikkonen Vettel assess the combination is the most interesting. Because, Raikkonen could be assessed a new rival for the defending champion.

“Today will be a very cool look at Kimi in Red Bull. He would complicate Seb (Vettel),” said Hamilton in the British newspaper, The Sun.

“Kimi is a superb rider, everyone knows it. So it will be very interesting what he would do with a better car,” added the champion of the 2008 F1 season.

Lotus Party is still reluctant to release their hero is. Raikkonen himself insists there is no agreement whatsoever on the future. “If I know (about the future) will definitely be my responsibility to stop these nonsense rumors,” said Kimi.

Raikkonen started his career in 2001 with Sauber defending. After that, he moved to McLaren a year later before solidifying Ferrari in 2007.

33-year-old man had quit F1 in 2009 and performed at the rally event World Rally Championship (WRC) and Nascar. In 2012, the 2007 F1 champion eventually back to racing pole.

Strong promonition of Stoner Back to MotoGP

TOKYO – Signs of Casey Stoner will return to MotoGP stronger. It can be seen from the decision Stoner did four trials in Motegi, Japan. For Stoner, it was his first opportunity riding a special bike MotoGP since 2012.

The last time the Australian MotoGP struggling with a particular motor is in trials in Valencia in 2012 ago. Previously, after retirement from MotoGP in the 2011 season, Stoner decided struggled in the V8 Supercar Racing.

“It’s almost seven months since I tried in Valencia. I am very happy and comfortable with the decision to quit MotoGP. Sometimes I really miss the RCV race, “said Stoner as reported by Crash page on Tuesday (23/7).

Stoner decision to try at Motegi beruji joy greeted the Honda team. Honda HRC Excutive Vice President, Shuhei Nakamoto said, it always opens the door lebart-wide if Stoner back to Honda.

“We warmly welcome the return of Stoner to Honda. He knows a lot about the machine. I am sure, he will be able to help our engineers to develop the RC213V bike, “said Nakamoto.

Stoner holds two world titles in the iron horse races. Namely, in the 2007 season and 2009. He also still holds the record as the only Ducati rider who managed to become world champion. However, Stoner decided retirement from MotoGP when he was very young, 25 years old.