Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has sided with Sebastian Vettel rather than reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton over the current state of the sport at the highest level.
Ferrari’s Vettel declared last week that F1 is no longer “about the sport and which driver is the fastest” amid the new era of “far too complex” technical regulations.
The quadruple world champion added: “The dominance of Mercedes has taken away the excitement for many fans”.
Hamilton, the reigning triple world champion who with Mercedes has dominated the controversial ‘power unit’ era so far, hit back at Vettel.
“It’s pretty funny because he had four years of it and I’ve only had two,” he told Britain’s Sky television. “Until I get to his level I won’t have bored them as much as he had!”
However, F1 supremo Ecclestone appears to agree entirely with Vettel, pointing the finger directly at teams like Mercedes who are reluctant to agree to sweeping rule changes for 2017.
Ecclestone also said there is “no chance” F1 teams will meet the March 1 deadline to agree to sweeping 2017 changes.
“Most of the participants are only thinking about what’s good for them in the short term,” he told the Daily Mail. “Long term for most of those people is two or three races.
“The result is that formula one is the worst it has ever been. I wouldn’t spend my money to take my family to watch a race. No way,” Ecclestone added.
“What’s the point when you pretty much know – and the bookmakers know, and they’re not stupid – that Lewis Hamilton will probably put the car on pole and more likely than not win the race, and the other Mercedes will be on the podium?”
Nico Rosberg – Hamilton’s teammate – hit back at the critics by insisting they are not “respectful” enough when it comes to Mercedes’ achievements in dominating F1 for the past two years.
But Ecclestone is not only critical of Mercedes, as he also pointed a finger of blame at Jean Todt, the FIA president who he says is more focused on road safety than the state of F1.
“He should carry on with the other stuff, but hand over responsibility for formula one to someone else,” he said. “I am going to speak to him about it.”