Despite the gravity of bribery allegations against him, as well as his 83 years, Bernie Ecclestone was able to retain his sense of humour as he arrived in Room 101 for his trial.

When asked about his prospects by a swarm of reporters outside the Munich courtroom, he said: "I'm confident the sun is shining."

Pulling up in a Mercedes - the irony will not be lost on many, given that it is parent company Daimler's compliance concerns that could push Formula One's impresario out of the sport - Ecclestone said he was "grateful" for the opportunity to clear his name.

His legal team took four hours to read a personal statement.

Advertisement

Ecclestone denies the charges that he paid a bribe of US$44 million ($51.3 million) to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to help safeguard his supremacy within Formula One when the sport was sold to CVC Capital Partners in 2006.

Ecclestone faces a 10-year jail sentence possible if he is found guilty.