Formula 1

Ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone buys Flavio Briatore’s £18m yacht for bargain £6.6m after it’s seized by cops and auctioned

FORMER Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has treated himself to his old mate Flavio Briatore’s yacht.

The stunning 63-metre Force Blue recently became available for auction, after Briatore was convicted of not paying the VAT.

Ecclestone is now the proud owner of Force Blue
The luxury yacht is the 78th biggest in the world

Ecclestone and Briatore are old pals from their F1 and QPR days

And Ecclestone, 90, couldn’t resist grabbing himself a bargain, picking up the yacht for a snip at £6.6m – despite his mate having originally paid £68.2m for it.

Briatore, 70, who previously owned QPR alongside Ecclestone – was found to have not paid around £3m in VAT on the boat between 2006 and 2010 – as well as around £700,000 in fuel duties.

The yacht, the 78th biggest on the planet, initially became available for charter in the Mediterranean, before the court decided to sell up at auction.

And according to Italian reports, Ecclestone snapped it up for just £6.6m – despite it being valued these days at around £17.5m.

Able to house 12 guests, Force Blue possesses luxury features including a spa, gym and Jacuzzi to relax in – as well as a cinema and disco room if Bernie fancies a boogie.

Perhaps Bernie will be able to share the yacht with his kids, having last year become a father again at 89 with wife Fabiana, 44.

And if he has his way, there could be more offspring yet.

He told last year: “Fabiana said she wanted a ­family, and I told her, ‘That’s no problem for me. Half a dozen kids is great’.”

Briatore initially bought the yacht for £68.2m

Force Blue went to auction last week

Ecclestone last year became a father again with wife Fabiana, 44

On being a father again, he added: “I am really happy. When I had the girls in the first place, obviously I was much younger.

“But also I was more worried about running a business than running around after them.

“Now I have more time on my hands and I hope I can spend it with my son as he grows up. I don’t know if we will stop here. Perhaps he should have a little brother or sister.

“Do I take anything? No! Fabiana gives me some tablets — vitamin D — but I don’t take anything else.”

Briatore, who also knows Ecclestone from his days as Renault F1 chief, was last summer rushed to hospital, after testing positive for Covid-19.

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