Bernie Ecclestone, the former head of Formula 1, shares his insightful and sometimes controversial views on the current dynamics of F1 racing. In a candid interview with Sport Bild, Ecclestone praises Red Bull’s strategic patience and growth over the years, overshadowing Mercedes’ previous dominance. “They patiently endured the Mercedes victories of previous years, replacing each weak link one by one,” he reflects. “They now have the best team, the best design, the best car, the best driver. They did an excellent job.”
Looking ahead to 2024, Ecclestone foresees Red Bull maintaining its top position, attributing their success to more than just technical superiority. He uses the analogy “‘The trend is your friend’ doesn’t just apply to the stock market,” to underscore Red Bull’s momentum. While he acknowledges Ferrari as a potential challenger, he is less optimistic about Mercedes’ prospects, not solely due to technical reasons. He points out personal factors affecting Mercedes’ drivers: “Lewis Hamilton slacked off a bit, and George Russell wasn’t as good as he thought he was,” Ecclestone remarks, albeit acknowledging that their performance loss was more dramatic than expected.
Ecclestone places special emphasis on Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s ace driver. “Max is the measure of all things at the moment,” he says confidently. “You could put him in a McLaren or probably a Ferrari or a Mercedes and he would win.”
Additionally, Ecclestone recognizes Lando Norris’s talent in McLaren but is particularly impressed by Oscar Piastri, predicting, “He’ll be a champion one day.”
However, Ecclestone is critical of how Gunther Steiner and Haas F1 managed Mick Schumacher, son of the legendary Michael Schumacher. He feels Mick was never truly given a chance to showcase his abilities. “Mick was lost on the wrong team with the wrong people. The people there (at Haas) took him because of his name. They were never interested in how good or bad he was,” he asserts.