12 MARCH 2009

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and his wife Slavica have been granted a divorce after 25-years of marriage; a development that could lead to the most expensive settlement in legal history.

Former Armani model Slavica is entitled to half of the tycoon's £2.4 billion fortune. Legal experts predict she will walk away with around £1 billion, as a large portion of the racing boss' money was held in offshore accounts in his wife's name.

On Wednesday the Croatia-born brunette was given a 'quickie divorce' and granted a decree nisi in just 58 seconds on the grounds that the marriage had "irretrievably" broken down due to the 78-year-old's "unreasonable behaviour".

Mr Ecclestone, who like his wife was not at the hearing, didn't contest the divorce and says "it has been an amicable split".

In addition to the family home in Chelsea, the couple's assets include a hotel in Gstaad, and a jet and a yacht named after their two daughters, Tamara, 24, and 19-year-old Petra.

Bernie and Slavica, who met at the 1982 Italian Grand Prix, wed at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in 1985.

Photo: Getty Images
Bernie and Slavica's "amicable" divorce could result in the racing boss paying out Britain's biggest ever divorce settlement