Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that public perception already depicts him as being defeated amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption affair.
Next week in Munich, his trial on bribery charges is set to begin, and it has already emerged that prosecutors do not believe his defense — that he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky over his tax affairs — is plausible.
F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however — who faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted — insists that the already-jailed Gribkowsky “shook me down.”
“I think he (Gribkowsky) knew what he wanted in life, and it wasn’t working for the bank,” the 83-year-old Briton told German television ARD.
“He wanted to do something more interesting, and I can’t really blame him,” Ecclestone added.
However, publicly, it is already widely regarded that it was Ecclestone who did the wrong thing.
He agrees: “People talk badly about me, without really understanding what it’s about. But the whole thing is just a very small part of my life.”
However, Ecclestone admits that preparing for the case has taken up “a lot of time.”
It is for that reason that he will seek help in running the sport once he is needed in court for two days a week, beginning next week.
“We need somebody who can sell sponsorship,” he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.
“Not a successor, but somebody to help me,” City A.M. quotes Ecclestone as saying.