Bernie Ecclestone goes into the new Formula One season without any abdominal pain. No, he has no worries, says the 84-year-old manager of the race series in an interview with the German Press Agency.
In it he also talks about the topic of successor, his wish scenario for the coming season, the value of World Champion Lewis Hamilton and the son of the most successful pilot in the history of the Motorsport Royal Class.
What are your biggest concerns before the beginning of the season in a few days?
Ecclestone: I don’t have any.
But there are question marks behind teams and routes. What else can be done for the Manor team, respectively. for nine or ten teams to finish the season? p>
Ecclestone: This is all a commercial thing and everything is regulated. So there is no reason for anyone to worry.
Are you sure that the ten teams that have been notified will still be competing at the end of the season?
Ecclestone: I want to be completely honest with you. I’m not even sure if I’m still alive at the end of the year, and I’m sure they’re not even sure if they’re still alive at the end of the year. Therefore: I do not know.
Should races like Mercedes or Ferrari, i.e. the big manufacturers, the smaller and private teams help more?
Ecclestone: No, no. People take part in the World Cup, they know the conditions very well and they sign up because they think they can do it under these conditions. So it is up to them and not others to help them.
Can you help them any more?
Ecclestone: Well, we adhere exactly to the agreed conditions. We’re paying over nine hundred million dollars. This is as much as we can do.
There is a German team defending the World Cup title, a German driver at Ferrari. Are you surprised that interest in Germany continues to decline? Do you have explanations for this?
Ecclestone: I do not. I wish I had one, then we could probably do something about it. I don’t know. I don’t know. I have no idea. That is exactly the problem that everyone involved has. We don’t know. It’s strange, as they say. There is a German driver who has won four World Championships, there is a team that has won the design title and will probably win it again this year. It’s strange to know what it’s about. p>
Do you also talk to people outside formula 1 in Germany, with TV stations, how they assess the situation? If you look at RTL, which has been transmitting formula 1 for 25 years, they also have problems with the lesser interest.
Ecclestone: Yes, that is exactly the problem, they do not know.
Mick Schumacher, son of record world champion Michael Schumacher will start his career in formula 4 in April, Do you think he could make his debut in a Formula One car soon?
Ecclestone: I don’t know, he’s too young at the moment. Let’s wait.
Would you advise him to go to a sport that his father has dominated for years?
Ecclestone: Yes, of course. Absolutely. If he wants it and he can, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t.
Could he also give Germany the push it needs in terms of formula 1?
Ecclestone: I don’t think so. I think we should not rely on a particular driver who is not in formula 1 to give a boost to formula 1. I do not know why the German public has not been involved in the last three years. Maybe because everyone misses Michael. Maybe that’s why.
Back to Mercedes. A new contract is being negotiated by Lewis Hamilton. What is a world champion in general and Hamilton worth especially from their point of view?
Ecclestone: As much as someone wants to pay and as much as he (Hamilton) is ready to accept. These are agreements that affect people. What’s worth anything? You know, I always thought people didn’t know some values in the world. It is therefore a question of what someone is willing to pay.
Mercedes has impressed again during the test trips. What kind of season do you expect, who can challenge Mercedes?
Ecclestone: I think, preferably Ferrari, maybe Williams can also make it difficult for them in some races. We have to wait and see.
When you look at sports in the USA, you try to distribute the money there so that the teams can compete against each other and be sure of sporting challenges. Would a renewed Mercedes dominance move the fans towards further departure?
Ecclestone: No, I don’t think so. We had Ferrari. In Formula One, there were always phases when a team dominated. Michael (Schumacher) won the World Cup one year after the other. McLaren once won 16th of a 17-race race race. So, I don’t know. Neither do you or anyone else. We don’t know what the audience will think. I think the racing was very, very good last year.
What would be their wish scenario for this year’s World Cup?
Ecclestone: Of course it would be great if we had Ferrari and two or three other teams that could fight Mercedes. But on the other hand, when the two Mercedes drivers are fighting each other, it is also fine.
Are they actually tired if the never-ending discussions about the attractiveness of formula 1?
Ecclestone: No, because it is a thing that cannot be analyzed so easily. Why do people do all kinds of things? Why do people buy certain products or things? Many things are simply fashion and just announced.
Does the Formula 1 business model still work from their point of view as it should or what should be changed?
Ecclestone: Well, if I knew what those changes would be, I would make them. As far as our company is concerned, we do not need to make any changes. p>
You joked earlier that you didn’t even know if you were still alive at the end of the year –should you resign your office, who do you see as a logical successor?
Ecclestone: I don’t think there’s anything logical about that. It’s gonna happen sooner or later. But there is no logical successor who would have to be.
Think that the commercial part of formula 1 would have to be restructured without you –without such a dominant figure that overlooks everything?
Ecclestone: No. If I don’t do what I do, maybe two or three other people will. And they’ll probably do it differently. Better or worse, you have to wait.
Talk to the right-holder CVC about who could take formula 1 if you were no longer there?
Ecclestone: Of course you think about these things, just like I do. So when the right person gets there, I’m sure they’ll do something. At the moment there is no need.
ZUR PERSON:Bernie Ecclestone has been managing the commercial fate of formula 1 for almost forty years. The 84-year-old British survived all crises, last year also a spectacular process in Munich due to the sale of formula 1 about nine years ago.