Ecclestone to step down at F1 for bribery trial

LONDON - Bernie Ecclestone will step down as the head of Formula One's holding company pending the outcome of a bribery trial in Germany, the organisation announced on Thursday.

The British businessman is due to stand trial in Munich in April over allegations he bribed former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during negotiations concerning the sale of F1 championship rights in 2006.

The 83-year-old magnate has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and intends to continue to run the sport on "a day-to-day basis".

"Mr Ecclestone has reassured the board that he is innocent of the charges and intends to vigorously defend the case which will commence in late April 2014," read a statement from the F1 holding company, Delta Topco Limited.

"After discussion with the board, Mr Ecclestone has proposed and the board has agreed that until the case has been concluded, he will step down as a director with immediate effect, thereby relinquishing his board duties and responsibilities until the case has been resolved.

"The board believes that it is in the best interests of both the F1 business and the sport that Mr Ecclestone should continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis, but subject to increased monitoring and control by the board. Mr Ecclestone has agreed to these arrangements."