In pictures: Bernie Ecclestone

Image copyright PA

Bernie Ecclestone, who has ruled Formula 1 for nearly 40 years, has won a legal battle against a German media company, which was suing him for £85m.

Image copyright Alamy

His F1 journey began in the 1950s, when he was a less-than-successful racing driver and then a manager of promising British F1 driver Stuart Lewis-Evans.

Image copyright Martyn Goddard/Rex Features

When Lewis-Evans died in an accident in 1958, Mr Ecclestone, talking here with the driver Nelson Piquet in 1981, left motor racing for the best part of a decade.

Image copyright Getty Images

The businessman, photographed here with the former president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Max Mosley, re-emerged in the late 1960s as the manager of another promising driver, Austrian Jochen Rindt.

Image copyright Getty Images

After Rindt was killed in a crash in 1970, Mr Ecclestone, pictured here with Prince Albert of Monaco, bought the F1 team Brabham in 1972, becoming a member of the Formula One Constructors' Association (Foca), the group that represented the teams.

Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Ecclestone, here with Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone, then suggested the teams allow him to take responsibility for negotiating the television rights for the sport, successfully persuading television companies to buy F1 as a package, rather than pay for individual races.

Image copyright Getty AFP

His influence increased further in the mid-1990s when his company took over from Foca as the rights holder of F1, and then again in 2000, when Mr Ecclestone - here with Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson - was granted the commercial rights to F1.

Image copyright PA

Mr Ecclestone has been married three times. He is seen here with his second wife, Slavica - before they divorced in 2009 - and their two daughters, Petra and Tamara.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Formula 1 boss announced his engagement to Fabiana Flosi in 2012 - and she became his third wife later that year.

Image copyright PA

In 2007, Mr Ecclestone became part-owner of Queens Park Rangers Football Club. He became the majority shareholder in 2010, but sold the club in 2011.

Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Ecclestone found himself the focus of demonstrators when Formula 1 announced plans to stage a race in Bahrain during political turmoil in the Gulf state.

Image copyright Reuters

As well as the civil dispute with Constantin Medien, Mr Ecclestone faces a criminal trial in Germany, where he's accused of bribery. Here, he testifies against banker Mr Gribkowsky at an earlier hearing at a court in Munich.