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Ecclestone derides new teams as 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment'

Pulling no punches as ever, new octogenarian Bernie Ecclestone has slated this season's three newcomers as 'cripples' the sport could do without - and dismissed the notion of ever trying to float F1 on the stock market again
In an astonishing outburst, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has lambasted 2010 newcomers Lotus, Virgin and Hispania (HRT) as 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment' – and accused them of doing 'nothing' for the sport.

The British billionaire's remarks are even more extraordinary given that he played a leading role in trying to attract new entrants onto the grand prix grid this season by way of financial incentives. However, almost eight months on and the best of them – Lotus – is still languishing around 1.5 seconds adrift of its closest rival and some 3.5 seconds shy of the outright benchmark. HRT is regularly more than five seconds off the pace, and none of the three have come even close to scoring points.

Whilst acknowledging that with Red Bull gearboxes and hydraulic systems and a widely-anticipated engine-supply deal with Renault, the ambitious, Anglo/Malaysian Lotus effort deserves to remain in the top flight for a second consecutive campaign, Ecclestone criticises Sir Richard Branson for not investing more money into Virgin – and makes no mention at all of Hispania.

“They do nothing for us,” the recently-turned 80-year-old told the Financial Times. “They are an embarrassment. We need to get rid of a few of those cripples. Richard should put some money in there (Virgin), shouldn't he? He could do what (Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz) has done and put some money in.”

Ever the canny businessman himself, Ecclestone went on to confess that he would like to see one of Red Bull Racing pairing Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel clinch the drivers' crown this season, as there would then be five world champions in the field in 2011 – a factor that could only serve to boost F1's popularity.

Adding that there is 'no truth' in rumours that he is lining up disgraced former Renault F1 managing director and 'Singapore-gate' protagonist Flavio Briatore as his successor on the commercial front – with speculation that GP2 Series director Bruno Michel and Prodrive chairman David Richards are similarly in the running to eventually assume the helm – he explained that he has no intention to retire despite his advancing years, vowing to stay 'as long as I can deliver'.

“Somebody will emerge when I'm not there,” he mused. “I think two or three people may come out of the woodwork, but I don't think it could be carried on in the same way as it has.”

Finally, having attempted to float F1 on the stock market back in 1997 – only to be blocked by a number of teams' refusal to sign a long-term contract in the absence of a higher percentage of the sport's income, controlled by his Formula One Management (FOM) company – and again in 2000, when he was scuppered by an anti-trust investigation that had been launched by the European Commission the previous year, Ecclestone insisted he would never try to do so again.

“There's no way I would sit in front of a load of share-holders,” he urged. “It wouldn't float under me.”

F1's parent company Delta Topco is owned 5.3 per cent by Ecclestone, and 63.4 per cent by private equity investor CVC Capital Partners, who likewise are understood to be uninterested in selling a business that is worth in the region of £3.8-£4.4 billion.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Friday Practice 1, Bruno Senna (BRA), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110
Friday Practice 1, Sakon Yamamoto (JPN), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110
Friday Practice 1, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01
Friday Practice 1, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01
Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday Practice 1, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Racing, T127
Saturday Practice, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Friday Practice 1, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management  and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Saturday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebatian Vettel and David Coulthard at the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi - Pic credit: Infiniti
Sebastian Vettel drives the Russian Grand Prix circuit in Sochi for the first time - Pic credit: Infiniti
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24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
24.08.2014- Race, Andre Lotterer (GER), Caterham F1 Team
24.08.2014- Race, Peter Sauber (SUI), Sauber F1 Team motorhome

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Sweeble

November 01, 2010 4:25 PM

Bernie doesn't seem to understand that F1's problems isn't to do with new teams etc, it's the fact that there is no racing and we are treated to a boring parade of overpaid playboy ponces driving playstation cars every 2 weeks - 'action' means a car breaking down or a slow pit stop. I hope he tuned into WSBK and Moto2 recently, it's just great to watch real men racing hard!

DBL

November 01, 2010 2:46 PM

If they qualify within the old 107% rule, which they have all done since the first couple of races (even Yamamamamamamoto has I think) then the old dwarf can hardly be spiteful about them. After all his Brabham team when he managed them (72-87) failed to qualify on more occasions than the new teams this year.



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