Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down from the Formula One Group as he is set to go on trial for bribery charges in Germany.
Ecclestone, who has governed Formula 1 for over thirty years, has been prosecuted over his paying £27million to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is serving a jail sentence for taking the money from him.
Ecclestone admits paying him the money but claims that he paid Gribkowsky as a way of avoiding a UK tax enquiry, not bribery.
The trial will commence in April, and Ecclestone has stepped down from the F1 group, a board of companies involved in promoting the sport and exploiting its commercial rights.
Delta Topco, the company which ultimately owns the group, released a statement on the decision.
"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," it read.
"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."
However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner showed his support for Ecclestone, who runs the Formula One Constructors' Association (FOCA).
Horner said: "Bernie is absolutely the best and only guy to do what he does, to take Formula One to the global reach that the sport has achieved, introducing races in Russia this year, going back to the Austrian Grand Prix.
"It's a massive calendar that he's pulled together it's in all our interests that he's around as long as possible."
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