Mike Stevens | Jan 10, 2011

McLaren will buck the trend of its closest F1 rivals by not revealing its 2011 car until after the forthcoming Valencia test.

While fellow 2010 title contenders Red Bull and Ferrari plan to kick off the four-test pre-season period with new cars, Woking-based McLaren announced late on Friday that the MP4-26 will not be unveiled until February 4.

That is the day after the Valencia group test ends, making it likely that McLaren will commence its winter programme with an interim version of the 2010 chassis before the new car debuts at Jerez.

McLaren said the 2011 launch will take place in Berlin but gave no further details.

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone Denies Paying $50m Bribe To F1 Banker

Bernie Ecclestone has denied paying a bribe to a German banker arrested last week for corruption.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, once representing former F1 owner Bayerische Landesbank, is charged with accepting $50 million amid the sale of the sport's commercial rights to its current owners CVC five years ago.

CVC issued a statement insisting it had "no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Mr Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC's acquisition of formula one".

Asked if he has anything to do with the suspicious tale, F1 Chief Executive Ecclestone said on Saturday: "No; what the German newspapers speculate or the prosecutors suspect is false.

"It's absolute nonsense," the 80-year-old Briton told Bild-Zeitung newspaper.

Ecclestone admits to knowing Gribkowsky but insists he has "nothing to do with these payments" to him.

"I don't even know why I would have given him money," he said.

Ecclestone denied having bank accounts in the Virgin Islands or Mauritius or knowing a holding company linked to Gribkowsky's money.

"I don't know how he got it (the $50m)," he said. "As a member of the board of (F1 holding company) Delta Topco he received only a small salary. I know because I was the CEO."

"You should ask the banks involved who might have paid him," Ecclestone added.

"And if CVC says it has nothing to do with the payments, you can be absolutely sure they are telling the truth. I assure you."

"If German newspapers are writing that I have something to do with it, that's absolute nonsense and if necessary I will fight it in the courts," he warned.

(GMM)

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