Ecclestone: ‘Rival teams and the FIA used to help Ferrari win’
Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of the FIA, has opened and said that the FIA – including himself – and rival teams would often try to help Ferrari when necessary.
With many contentious instances in the past, it was always believed that the FIA had a bias towards the Maranello team under the Mosley and Todt FIA regimes, however they always denied the claims.
"F1 is Ferrari, and Ferrari is F1," the Briton told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
After the controversy regarding Max Verstappen’s move on Kimi Raikkonen last weekend in Austin, Max Verstappen's father Jos posted on Twitter that the FIA stands for 'Ferrari International Assistance'.
"Helping Ferrari has always been the smartest thing to do. It was always done through the technical regulations," Ecclestone said.
"The teams are important to F1, but Ferrari is more than that. So many things have been done over the years that have helped Ferrari to win."
However, Ecclestone reckons that current F1 race director Charlie Whiting isn’t biased. "No, Charlie has always done what he has to do.
"But Max Mosley has often helped Ferrari, and I too wanted them to win. There can be a season won by others, but even the other teams have an interest in challenging a competitive Ferrari," he insisted. "It's one thing to win against Sauber and quite another to win against a red car."
Ecclestone isn’t sure, but believes that Ferrari might have had help from Mercedes.
"But certainly at one point they had help with this engine," Ecclestone claimed.
"It's the same for Mercedes as it is for the others, a world championship win against Ferrari is always worth more. If Mercedes decided to transfer technology to Maranello, I say it was a good move," he said. "What is certain is that this friendly situation between the two teams is the best thing for Mercedes.
"It means Red Bull did not have the most powerful engines and Ferrari was competitive enough to be a credible rival to beat," Ecclestone added.
He also pointed out that Mercedes received a head-start with its turbo V6 design due to the arrival of Ross Brawn.
"At the key time, Ross Brawn was in the engine group deciding the rules and he knew exactly what was going on," said Ecclestone.
"Not because he was a good engineer, but because he was with Ferrari. Then he went to Mercedes and took that information with him."
Ecclestone also didn’t enjoy the driver introductions at the United States Grand Prix.
"Maybe it was great for the Americans, but not for F1," he said.
"I built a five star restaurant and they are turning it into McDonald's," Ecclestone added.
"At one point I saw drivers dressed in pink. If I had anything to do with it, I would have told them to go back and dress appropriately," he said