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Ecclestone: "Mercedes, Ferrari rowing in same boat"

  • Published on 22 Dec 2015 12:11
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at reports suggesting formula one risked collapse due to some of the political events of 2015. "Formula one will never collapse. Even if we had lost Red Bull and Lotus," the F1 supremo insisted during an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

Also contemplating quitting was the French carmaker Renault, who ultimately decided to return to full works team status by buying Lotus. "We are glad they are all staying," said Ecclestone. "We supported Renault financially to buy Lotus and give Red Bull engines, but it is a bit strange that a large company like Renault needed this help."

It might be argued that the political challenges of 2015 were among the toughest that Ecclestone has ever had to be involved in solving. But he said: "There were and are always problems. The difficulty this year was that the engine manufacturers were pursuing only their own interests."

"It would have been very easy for Mercedes to supply Red Bull with engines. They are doing it for Marussia (Manor) but if I was them I would rather have Red Bull because I would know for sure I am getting my money. The reason they (Mercedes) didn't is that they want to prevent what we need to give to the fans -- competition," Ecclestone charged.

Compounding the problem, the 85-year-old said, is that Ferrari also refused to help Red Bull. "I think there's an agreement between Mercedes and Ferrari -- at the moment it's like they're joined-at-the-hip Siamese twins. One does nothing without the other. I don't know if that's true but it's what I'm told. Mercedes even helped Ferrari a bit technically, which is why Ferrari has caught up and they're happy. It means they're both rowing in the same boat," Ecclestone argues.

He says even the low-profile FIA president Jean Todt has noticed the problem, with the governing body issuing a rare and controversial 'mandate' so that Ecclestone can make unilateral changes. "We cannot put F1 in the hands of two teams," Ecclestone insisted.

Asked if his first move could be the abolishment of the F1 commission and strategy group, he answered: "We'll see. The answer may be yes. Let's wait and see what the engine manufacturers say in January. We want a simpler and cheaper engine that an independent manufacturer like Cosworth is able to build," he said.

Told, however, that Ferrari might scupper all the plans with its famous 'veto', Ecclestone explained: "They can use it only in a very, very limited way. For example, if Ferrari is forced to rebuild its car. If we decide something and the teams don't like it, they can go to arbitration. We would win because we are not doing it for commercial reasons but to protect formula one and provide a fair competition for everyone. At the moment that's not the case," he added. (GMM)

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