MARCH 13, 2019
Ecclestone plays down F1 return rumours
Bernie Ecclestone has played down suggestions he might make a return to formula one.
The former F1 supremo may be 88, but his friend Christian Horner says: "You never know with him."
Ecclestone told Corriere della Sera: "It would be a mistake to go back, even if I had the chance.
"Why should I try to change Liberty?" he asked.
But Horner, the Red Bull boss, thinks Ecclestone would be better than Chase Carey and the other Liberty Media executives at negotiating the Concorde Agreement and ending the dispute with disgruntled race promoters.
Ecclestone also notes that F1's TV ratings "have fallen".
But he thinks that could change in 2019.
"Yes, if the competition improves," Ecclestone said. "In the past few seasons it was known before it started that Hamilton would win. How do you sell a product like that?"
Ecclestone said he is hoping Ferrari beats Mercedes this year.
"They should have won it last year, they had the right car, but Sergio Marchionne's death left a huge void," he said.
"Even Sebastian (Vettel) felt lost. He was not happy with how the team was managed and made mistakes that he would never make in other circumstances."
But he says Lewis Hamilton remains the 2019 favourite, saying the Mercedes driver's high profile is both "the best and the worst" for F1.
"The best because he knows how to promote the sport like no other, but the worst because he takes all the attention away.
"He's not doing anything wrong, it's the other drivers that need to wake up and show their personalities," Ecclestone added.
Finally, when asked about Fernando Alonso's exit from F1, Bernie answered: "It's a great loss. Maybe he will return to Ferrari in 2020."