BayernLB, the state-owned German bank, paid Mr Ecclestone $41m for acting as a guarantor, but it is now considering suing him to get the money back.
It follows the conviction in June of Gerhard Gribkowsky, BayernLB’s former chief risk officer who was found guilty of receiving a $44m bribe paid by Mr Ecclestone in return for waving through the sale to CVC.
In the years leading up to the 2006 sale, F1 had been beset with problems as a pay dispute led to its teams threatening to set up a rival series and its shareholders sued each other in a power struggle. CVC paid $1.7bn for F1, but Mr Ecclestone says that it only agreed to the purchase on condition that it got a $100m indemnity that the sport would not collapse and its finances were in good order.
BayernLB was F1’s biggest shareholder with a 47.2pc stake, but Mr Ecclestone says it refused to provide the indemnity so he had to give the commitment himself.
“I had to indemnify CVC that all the books were straight and there was nothing wrong and it wasn’t even my bloody company.
I indemnified them for $100m and got $41.4m as a commission. When I look at it now I think what a bloody idiot I was.”
Mr Ecclestone now faces the possibility that he may be sued by BayernLB to return the commission that was paid in the wake of his indemnity. It follows the conviction of Mr Gribkowsky who was given an eight-and-a-half year sentence for receiving a bribe and not paying tax on it.
Mr Ecclestone admits he paid Mr Gribkowsky but says he did this to prevent him making false allegations about his tax affairs to HM Revenue & Customs. He is being investigated by the Munich state prosecutor, but has not been charged with any wrongdoing.