How The Mighty Fall

ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP

Is Formula One finished?

In medieval Germany, debtors were locked up in a tower in the center of town, so their neighbors could witness their disgrace. More recently, executives declaring bankruptcy traditionally wore a black suit symbolizing the death of their firm. Following the insolvency declaration by the German broadcaster KirchMedia last week, founder Leo Kirch failed to show up for work for the first time in living memory. But thanks to a 1999 revision of the bankruptcy law there was a chance that the company could emerge from bankruptcy relatively intact, unlike many previous failures that were shuttered and sold. "It's a turning point,...

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