NOVEMBER 17, 2019
Ecclestone thinks Mercedes could quit F1
Bernie Ecclestone has told the F1 world not to dismiss rumours about Mercedes quitting the sport.
In Brazil, after Mercedes won its sixth consecutive drivers' and constructors' championships this season, there are rumours that American racing legend Roger Penske could buy the German team.
Penske immediately denied it, former F1 supremo Ecclestone told the Daily Mail: "I wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes stopped.
"There has been change at the top and the new people are not so enthusiastic about Formula 1 as the old people used to be.
"They might think we have won seven world championships - which they will have done by the end of next year - so why stay?" the 89-year-old said.
Ecclestone, who spends much of his time at his Brazilian coffee plantation, said Mercedes quitting would be the perfect opportunity for Lewis Hamilton to follow suit.
"If I were Lewis I'd think, 'I've won another title', and I'd stop," he said.
"If Charles Leclerc stays at Ferrari, I'd put money on him to win against Lewis. He's not necessarily better but he is established in the team.
"Ferrari is a strange place to work. Lewis doesn't speak Italian. They might gang up on him - or fall in love with him - but I don't think he would do as good a job for himself or the sport as he is doing with Mercedes.
"With Sebastian Vettel or Lewis they will only get a couple of years but with the younger two (Leclerc and Max Verstappen) they might get 10 years," Ecclestone said.
"I'm not sure Max isn't the best guy at the moment, including Lewis."