Oct.20 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The German broadcaster ZDF has published a joint interview involving F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and his old sparring partner Max Mosley.
It has reignited speculation as to what the pair might be up to, especially as one source believes Briton Mosley, although long since succeeded by Todt as FIA president, plans to visit a grand prix in the near future.
In the interview, Ecclestone and Mosley railed against the current regulations, advocated a budget cap and said the need to wrestle back control of the sport from engine makers like Mercedes and Ferrari is “acute”.
“F1 was built on people like Frank Williams,” said Mosley, “who (decades ago) had an independent engine supplier in Cosworth and then Ferrari came and raced with them, sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully.
“But I think the one factor that built formula one into what it is now, apart from Bernie’s effort, is the Cosworth engine.”
And in yet another interview, with the Independent newspaper, Ecclestone suggested that Ferrari and Mercedes – for instance by refusing to work with Red Bull – are in effect holding the sport to ransom.
“That’s exactly what the situation is,” he told the F1 business journalist Christian Sylt. “We need an independent engine supplier. I’ve been on about this now for a year and a half.”
The problem, however, is that F1’s current rules are protecting Mercedes and Ferrari’s dominance, while Ecclestone’s stance is not being backed by Todt.
“Jean is a bit different to Max,” Bernie told ZDF.
“He’s very worried about upsetting people, and we know that it is impossible for everybody to be happy.
“When Max wanted to get something done, if one or two people were unhappy, that’s how it was,” he explained.
Mosley, sitting next to Ecclestone, agreed that the status quo has put F1 “in the hands of the manufacturers”, who are running the sport at “board level”.
“(Mercedes’) Mr Zetsche can talk to (Ferrari’s) Mr Marchionne or (Renault’s) Mr Ghosn — then they control formula one,” said Mosley. “You don’t control formula one.
“At that point, the need for an independent engine supplier becomes acute.”
Ecclestone wants to go one step further, resurrecting the old V8 engine formula — even though that plan was voted down by the engine manufacturers in the Geneva meeting last week.
But the F1 supremo told Sylt: “I don’t think we should get consent from the teams. I think we should just do it and say to them ‘If you don’t like it you can go to arbitration’.”
That sort of behaviour would upset the grandee teams, who in the past have threatened to quit the sport or even set up a rival world championship.
Mosley, however, said F1 must stare down those threats and “be prepared to call their bluff and tell them ‘If you want to go, don’t slam the door behind you’.”