Bernie Ecclestone is backing Nico Rosberg to win this year's drivers' championship following the first test in Jerez.

Mercedes completed the most laps throughout the first test, with Rosberg the most productive driver as he amassed a total of 188 laps over his day and a half in the car. Not only was the factory team strong, the Mercedes engine appeared to be the quickest and most reliable during the first week at Jerez as McLaren's Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time and Mercedes-engined teams completed 875 laps in total.

While Ecclestone acknowledged it was too early to be making any firm predictions he was willing to name Rosberg as his early front-runner following the impressive showing at the first test.

"Anything can happen under the new regulations," Ecclestone told IANS. "So I would not want to comment much on what could happen this season. The way things worked out at Jerez, Mercedes seem best prepared to succeed with Rosberg winning the title."

Force India was one of the teams running a Mercedes engine at the first test and Ecclestone admitted he would name the team as dark horses for its first victory this year based on its power unit.

Asked if Force India could score a podium, Ecclestone replied: "Why a podium? I would love to see them win a race. And I am confident they can achieve that. They might not be as strong as the Mercedes but as their customers, Force India should progress farther up the grid."


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