Ecclestone: Mercedes and Ferrari could destroy F1

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says Mercedes and Ferrari's current domination of F1 on track and in the rules process risks 'destroying' the sport.

With tensions between Ecclestone and F1's manufacturers having ramped up in recent weeks in the wake of a push to introduce an independent engine, grand prix racing's commercial boss is showing no signs of backing down.

And he thinks that the way that Mercedes and Ferrari helped block plans for cheaper engines in F1 is a sign that they care more about their own success than the future of the sport.

"We're helping a manufacturer," Ecclestone said in an exclusive interview with the BBC.

"Because it doesn't make a lot of difference to Ferrari with the sort of engines they make. It helps Mercedes.

"So we are going to destroy Formula 1, if you like, because of a manufacturer, who would leave like the others have left when it suits them - BMW, Toyota, they leave when it suits them."

He added: "We're trying to save the sport and these people are trying to save it for their own good."

FIA mandate

Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt were recently given a mandate to propose changes to F1's governance structure on the back of concerns that the sport is facing a crisis.

That move has not gone down well with the teams, with Ecclestone revealing that Ferrari had written to the FIA expressing concern about any changes being in breach of current contracts between the teams and the sport's bosses.

Motorsport.com has learned that Ferrari was the only member of the FIA's 27-strong World Motor Sport Council not to vote in favour of the mandate.

Ecclestone seems unmoved by Ferrari's actions though, and suggested that if necessary he would face the team in court if it elected to go that far.

"The only thing we could do is to ignore what Ferrari have said and carry on with it and say: 'You've got a choice - you can leave or go to arbitration and see what the arbitrators think," he said.

"I think if we went to arbitration, we'd win easy."

Public concern

But Ecclestone is adamant that something needs to be done to turn around declining audiences, even if such moves end up upsetting the teams.

"There is all sorts of things we know we can do and should do to make F1 back on the road where it should be, because we are in show business," he said.

"We are there to entertain the public. We are not there to put on a show for Mercedes to demonstrate and sell their cars. Or Ferrari."

Mercedes commitment

While Mercedes did not wish to respond to Ecclestone's comments, the team did point out the following:

- Mercedes-Benz has been continuously involved in Formula 1 since 1993, a total of 23 uninterrupted seasons, and is committed to the sport until at least 2020;

- Mercedes-Benz has competed in 25 Formula 1 seasons in total, equivalent to almost 40 percent of the championship's history;

- In addition to running a works team for the past six seasons, Mercedes-Benz has been active not only as an engine manufacturer and partner since 1993, but also as a commercial partner of the sport, supplying the Safety and Medical Cars since 1996, the official cars throughout the European season and, in some instances, sponsoring individual races;

- All four of the current F1 engine manufacturers have competed in at least 25 Formula 1 seasons;

- The four current engine manufacturers have competed in a cumulative total of 153 Formula 1 seasons (Ferrari, 66; Renault, 37; Honda, 25; Mercedes-Benz, 25) and have a cumulative total of 2,223 race starts in Formula 1;

- In summary, the current engine manufacturers are four of the five most loyal in the sport's history – only Ford (P3 in race starts) is not currently active in the sport.

 

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes , Ferrari
Article type Breaking news