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GP Week : Issue 159
BRIEFLY » Timo Glock was forced to sit out Saturday’s qualifying session in Valencia when a stomach bug that had been plaguing the Marussia driver earlier in the week returned with a vengeance. It was hoped that he would be fit enough to race on Sunday, and the stewards had given Glock permission to start from the back of the grid, but with no improvement to the German driver’s health overnight, he skipped out on the European Grand Prix and flew home to recuperate. “Further to the medical problem which prevented Timo Glock from participating in yesterday’s qualifying session for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, the Marussia F1 Team can confirm that Timo is unable to compete in today’s race,” the team announced. “Timo received medical guidance yesterday afternoon and his symptoms suggest that he is suffering from an intestinal infection. He has been advised that it would be unwise for him to race given the severity of the complaint and that he should focus instead on recuperating. Timo spent the evening resting at his hotel in Valencia and is in good spirits. He will return home later today.” Despite Glock’s absence, Marussia were able to maintain their lead over HRT in the constructors’ standings. » The Valencia paddock was heaving with ghosts of F1 past, in the form of a number of recent departures from the Formula One grid. While Jaime Alguersuari is a familiar site thanks to his work with the BBC, Nick Heidfeld could be found taking on the expert driver role for Sky Sports F1. Also present was Jerome D’Ambrosio, who added his expertise to the support race commentary. In the paddock without a broadcasting role was Adrian Sutil; the former racer made his second paddock appearance of the season in Valencia, the first being at Barcelona six weeks ago. Sutil was seen enjoying the hospitality of his former employers at Force India, and was spotted chatting to teams up and down the paddock. German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky has told the Munich prosecutors that the charges against him in the F1 bribery scandal are “essentially true”. According to Gribkowsky, in his 2005 dealings with Bernie Ecclestone the banker was led to believe that there was a future job in Formula One for him if he helped sell F1 to CVC Capital Partners. At the time, Gribkowsky was chief risk officer for Germany's state-owned BayernLB. The banker admits to having been tempted by what he perceived was Ecclestone's job offer, and told the court that he had put himself "between two stools" by failing to mention the offer to his employers. In what was his first statement of the long-running trial Gribkowsky told the court that he was “on relatively thin ice” following the arrangement with Ecclestone. And while the German banker admitted to some moral quandary, he elected not to inform his employers of his backroom deal. Gribkowsky is facing charges of receipt of corrupt payments, breach of trust, and tax evasion. The trial is nearing its end, and with closing statements due this week Judge Peter Noll warned the defendant that he faced nine years imprisonment. The German legal system does not allow for plea-bargaining, but it is widely accepted that the earlier one pleads guilty, the lighter the sentence. Gribkowsky has already spent 18 months in prison during the investigation and trial, and legal observers have questioned the wisdom of his waiting so long to make a deal. Ecclestone has appeared in Munich as a witness in the Gribkowsky trial, when he admitted to paying the banker following what the F1 supremo called a sophisticated shakedown, but not been charged with any wrong-doing. Speaking to the media this week, the F1 supremo acknowledged that making payments to Gribkowsky had not been a wise decision. “I have always said that we gave him money but it was not for what he said,” Ecclestone told Reuters ahead of the European Grand Prix. “He was shaking me down a bit and saying I had control of a family trust which was not true. He was doing the best he could. I was a little bit stupid – normally I would have told him to get lost.” GRIBKOWSKY ADMITS RECEIVING PAYMENTS FROM ECCLESTONE 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS