Ecclestone: I see it in this order Vettel, Alonso, Button and Hamilton

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari; Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing; Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM); Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday 21 October 2010.

Bernie Ecclestone with the top guns of F1 (although Webber does not fit into the equation according to the little big boss)

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has tipped his friend and reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel to win a fourth consecutive world championship in 2013, and has his say on the demise of HRT and turmoil brewing at Monza.

Bernie Ecclestone wishes Sebastian Vettel luck prior to the start of the Abu Dhabi GP

Bernie Ecclestone wishes Sebastian Vettel good luck prior to the start of the Abu Dhabi GP

“I see it in this order: Vettel, Alonso, Button and Hamilton,” he told the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ecclestone said that he was curious to see how Mercedes’ sweeping changes for this season will make a difference, and said that McLaren has a “better chance” to win the 2013 title compared to last year.

“Many will not share my opinion,” said the 82-year-old Briton, “but I think McLaren is now better balanced and Button has the potential to be even better.”

Ecclestone also expects a good season for Ferrari.

“Ferrari will be strong, I have no doubt,” he said. “But they need to start well – they can’t wait for five or six races and then emerge,” added Ecclestone, referring to Ferrari’s poor start to its 2012 campaign.

He also did not sound sorry that HRT has folded.

“In Formula One, there should only be the best, not teams that have difficulties,” said the F1 ‘supremo’.

Fansa at Monza

Fans at Monza

“I think there should be ten teams at the most. It’s the ideal number to manage the championship well.”

Meanwhile, having officially confirmed the Nurburgring in its July 7 calendar slot, Ecclestone admitted turmoil behind the scenes at Italian Grand Prix host Monza.

Recently, amid a management controversy, the historic circuit’s chief Enrico Ferrari stepped down.

Ecclestone admitted that he doesn’t “understand what’s really going on”, but praised the departed Ferrari’s role.

“Thanks to him, Monza had a favourable economic treatment compared to all the other European races,” he said.

“On the continent, no race is as cheap as the grand prix of Italy,” Ecclestone reiterated. “He was tough in business, but competent, straightforward, clean.”

Ferrari’s successor is Fabrizio Turci.

Ecclestone said: “I do not know and [I] do not envy him. Without Ferrari it will be more complicated, because Enrico was a key man.” (GMM)

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