He has always been an admirer of recently-crowned F1 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, has the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone – but it now appears the British billionaire is such a fan of the young German that he would happily welcome him into his own family as his son-in-law.
Ecclestone has invariably praised Vettel both as a driver and as a human being, and believes the 23-year-old will make an excellent ambassador for the sport as its defending title-winner this year – but his latest pronouncement may just be a step too far.
“I wouldn't mind at all – he should give it a try and ask!” the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive joked in an interview with German publication Bild-Zeitung
, when asked what he would think were Vettel to ask out either of his daughters Tamara (26) or Petra (22), who has described him as 'quite sweet'. “He would be a good son-in-law. He's funny, normal, he has his goals and he is working hard to reach them. I like him very much.”
How such a suggestion would go down with Vettel's long-term girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Hanna, or indeed Tamara and Petra's boyfriends, is perhaps best left unanswered – and in any case, the Red Bull Racing star is far more content with the quiet Swiss lifestyle than the party scene of London, where Ecclestone recently splashed out more than £100 million on luxurious new pads for both of his daughters.
Meanwhile, back on the racetrack, the ten-time grand prix-winner has been tipped for even greater success in 2011 by his compatriot and newly-reconfirmed Force India F1 ace Adrian Sutil.
“Last year, Sebastian was very strong in qualifying against the supposed qualifying specialist [Mark] Webber,” the 28-year-old told Sport Bild
. “Now, all the pressure is gone. After he was runner-up in 2009, everyone expected so much from him [in 2010] because the car was so strong. I expect him to move on now. He will be more relaxed and even better with a title in the bag.”