F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has laid the blame for the struggles experienced by the top flight's three newcomers in 2010 squarely at the feet of former FIA President Max Mosley.
Having only recently derided the efforts of Lotus and particularly Virgin and Hispania (HRT) as 'an embarrassment' and chastising the trio as 'cripples' that have been a blight on the sport and 'do nothing for us' [see separate story – click here
], Ecclestone has now not uncharacteristically seemingly had a change of view.
“As for the new teams, their problems weren't their fault in all fairness,” the 80-year-old – who is currently recovering from a vicious mugging in central London last week – wrote in the foreword to The Official Formula 1 Season Review 2010
. “It was really Max Mosley's fault, telling them they could come in and be contenders for £30 million – but they're here now and, provided they don't walk around with begging bowls, it's good to have them.”
Ecclestone was also quick to praise the work of Mosley's successor at the head of F1's governing body, former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt – a man whose more conciliatory approach to leadership has resulted in a far more amicable and mutually constructive relationship with the sport's teams than the somewhat confrontational manner of his controversial predecessor.
“Jean is a completely different animal to Max,” mused the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive. “I had dinner with him the other night and we were talking about it – he's visited 51 countries this year, so he's been on the road a bit. In fairness, he's left F1 to get on with it, which is good.”