Bernie Ecclestone says he has no doubt who will win the 2015 world championship.
“Yes. I would put everything I own on it,” the British billionaire told the German newspaper Welt.
He is referring to the occupant of a works silver Mercedes.
Ecclestone says the turbo V6 ‘power unit’ rules he so despises means that the German giant’s dominance of 2014 cannot be overcome so quickly.
That is even despite the so-called engine ‘freeze’ having been thawed over the winter.
Ecclestone said: “I would have preferred if only Mercedes would have had to keep the engines frozen.
“But I’m not sure even that would have been enough for the others to catch up.
“At whatever pace they can catch up, Mercedes will also improve,” he added.
Ferrari has obviously made a big leap forward for 2015, and the team is apparently delighted with its acquisition, the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Ecclestone sees parallels to the early 90s, when he reportedly convinced the now FIA president Jean Todt to go to Maranello.
“When I convinced Jean Todt to go to Ferrari, the team was in the same condition it is today — they were very Italian. Like right now.
“Todt came and did everything from new, also because he had a lot of support from Michael (Schumacher),” Ecclestone revealed.
“I know this because Michael once told me that he was always the Ferrari team manager.
“I hope Sebastian can do now what Todt and Schumacher did then, but I don’t think he will be in that position. But Signore Marchionne believes he can put the team back on track.
“I hope he’s right, for Ferrari, for Sebastian and for formula one.”
However, although famously close to German Vettel, Ecclestone was initially disappointed when the 27-year-old chose to leave Red Bull at the end of last year.
“I just think he gave up too easily,” he admitted.
“It was not easy for Sebastian, but it was also difficult for Red Bull last year and I think he was generally disappointed with the team,” said Ecclestone.
“It was an understandable separation.” (GMM)