MARCH 17, 2013
Ecclestone's big hope for 2013 is Ferrari revival
Bernie Ecclestone has admitted a resurgent Ferrari is his great hope for the 2013 season.
Asked by Welt am Sonntag newspaper to describe his main hope for the new world championship, he answered: "That Ferrari gets back to where it belongs; in the front."
The famous Maranello marque, arguably the most important team on the grid, has not won a drivers' title since 2007.
The most recent few seasons have been dominated by Red Bull, but F1's chief executive insisted a fourth consecutive title in 2013 for Sebastian Vettel would not be a problem.
"I answer your question exactly as I did when Michael Schumacher won world title after the next, or it's like Muhammad Ali when he was almost invincible.
"Everyone is waiting to see when and if these guys can be beaten," added Ecclestone.
However, although Vettel is the world beater, many in the F1 paddock and beyond regard Fernando Alonso as the truly best driver of the moment.
"Maybe it's because his style is more aggressive," Ecclestone said, "perhaps because he has to drive it like that because his Ferrari is not as good.
"He (Alonso) also deals with the politics in a more spectacular way."
82-year-old Ecclestone therefore acknowledges the speculation that Vettel is great because of the dominance of Red Bull, and car designer Adrian Newey.
"Christian Horner does a great job," he said. "All the other teams are not as efficient.
"The problem for Ferrari is its long tradition, and the expectations, which increases their fear of making mistakes. They are afraid to look bad in public, so they prefer to act a bit more conservatively.
"Too conservatively I think.
"Red Bull is in a different position with (owner Dietrich) Mateschitz. More or less, he is an independent businessman; his own boss who can do what he wants.
"Even if he makes a big mistake, nobody can fire him, but Luca di Montezemolo always has to behave like a politician."
Finally, Ecclestone insisted he is not afraid of the Gerhard Gribkowsky affair, even though there is a chance he could be convicted in Germany and even jailed.
"I had and have no fear. Of anything or anyone," he told Welt am Sonntag. "Never have."