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Ex- Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that he, the governing body FIA and rival teams would often “help” Ferrari to be more successful in F1.

“F1 is Ferrari, and Ferrari is F1,” the Briton, who turns 87 on Saturday, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

After the Austin stewards controversy, Max Verstappen’s father Jos furiously suggested on Twitter that the FIA should stand for ‘Ferrari International Assistance’.

When asked about that charge, Ecclestone admitted: “Helping Ferrari has always been the smartest thing to do. It was always done through the technical regulations.

“The teams are important to F1, but Ferrari is more than that. So many things have been done over the years that have helped Ferrari to win,” he added.

Asked if current F1 race director Charlie Whiting may still be biased, Ecclestone said: “No, Charlie has always done what he has to do.

“But Max (Mosley) has often helped Ferrari, and I too wanted them to win. There can be a season won by others, but even the other teams have an interest in challenging a competitive Ferrari,” he insisted.

“It’s one thing to win against Sauber and quite another to win against a red car.”

Asked if Ferrari has had help to suddenly be so competitive in 2017, Ecclestone said that because he is no longer in charge, he cannot be sure.

“But certainly at one point they had help with this engine,” Ecclestone charged.

“It’s the same for Mercedes as it is for the others — a world championship win against Ferrari is always worth more.

“If Mercedes decided to transfer technology to Maranello, I say it was a good move,” he said. “What is certain is that this friendly situation between the two teams is the best thing for Mercedes.

“It means Red Bull did not have the most powerful engines and Ferrari was competitive enough to be a credible rival to beat,” Ecclestone added.

Mercedes has utterly dominated F1 throughout the ‘power unit’ era, and Ecclestone said that’s because the German team got a head-start with its turbo V6 design.

“At the key time, Ross Brawn was in the engine group deciding the rules and he knew exactly what was going on,” Ecclestone. “Not because he was a good engineer, but because he was with Ferrari.

“Then he went to Mercedes and took that information with him.”

Meanwhile, Ecclestone said he did not enjoy the Indy 500-style driver introductions organised a week ago by F1’s new owners Liberty Media for Austin.

“Maybe it was great for the Americans, but not for F1,” he said.

“I built a five star restaurant and they are turning it into McDonald’s,” Ecclestone added.

“At one point I saw drivers dressed in pink. If I had anything to do with it, I would have told them to go back and dress appropriately,” he said.


  • dinoart

    During Michael time in Ferrari, rules was changed more often to stop Ferrari.
    And I still remember when Bernie use word “disaster” when Michael won in Australia in 2004. Why if you want them to win? And how on Earth that was helping them.
    Michael lost at least 20 pole positions because of those rules.
    And before Michael time, there was 20 years without Championship win for Ferrari.
    What kind of help was that?
    If this is how FIA help you, then please, stop helping. Please! Go help Mercedes and Red Bull.
    If FIA help Ferrari, why is private testing forbidden?
    Don’t tell me how Red Bull, Mercedes, McLarren and even Williams didn’t had money to pay for private tests.
    FIA needed some rule to stop Ferrari where they gain the advantage.
    And that was unlimited time at Fiorano test track.
    So, my conclusion is – Bernie lie.

  • Leonardo Pisano Bigollo

    If you knew anyone who works in F1 at a senior level they would have told you this. It’s like the Harvey Weinstein harassment story. Everyone knew, no one wanted to talk about it. There are many of these stories that people in F1 will tell you in private. They won’t say it publicly as they will get black banned or bring the ire of the FIA down on the team. But a lot of times I see people on these websites being called “tin foil hat wearers” and I know that they are actually spot on. Piquet Jr was a classic example. Anyone who said that he crashed on purpose was laughed at. A year later and they were proven right.

    Here is something people on the inside know. Red Bull cheated the ride height adjustment in parc ferme for more than 2 years, to allow them to qualify in P1 and race to a win. The FIA looked the other way because Red Bull broke the GPWC break away series when the signed the current Concord Agreement. Red Bull also cheated the flexi wing rules and the traction control rules. All of Vettel’s 4 WDC’s were based on cheating.

    Here is another big one. All of the teams asked the FIA about running a double diffuser. The FIA told everyone that it was illegal. Except Brawn, Toyota and one other (I forget who it was, a smaller team). They told Toyota it was legal as they were spending $500m a year and getting nowhere and didn’t want Toyota to quit F1. They told Brawn it was legal as they wanted to show the big manufacturer teams that they could be made to lose to a small team by the FIA. This was more politics about the breakaway championship risk. When the other teams said “Hey you said the double diffuser was illegal!” the FIA said, “You didn’t ask the right question. What you asked for was illegal, but what Brawn asked for was within the rules.” That was a lie but the teams didn’t know specifically what Brawn has asked of the FIA so they could not argue the point.

  • Barry

    Bernie is trash.
    He a bitter little man. And those teams that beat Ferrari are to be even more respected for having done so. I’ve loathed Ferrari since the age of Enzo, because he was such an asshole. His cars deserved the nickname that FIAT had to bear, and little bernie was even worse. He was a charlatan and now he’s a bitter shriveled charlatan.
    Fook him. And If F1 fails, So it goes.

  • Roger Flerity

    There is a massive difference between suspicions and assumption without hard evidence or support, and an outright admission by the head of the sport. This is going to blow up in everyone’s faces. This is likely to lead to investigations against the FIA and F1 that could upend the entire sport.

  • Roger Flerity

    If what he is saying is actually true, F1 has perpetrated fraud, and is no more credible that WWF wrestling. Why would this old clown wish this to be his legacy? This means that F1 is not the penultimate motor sport at all, it is nothing but a fabricated show, with predetermined scripted results. All of the trillions spent over the Eclestone era make it the most expensive entertainment program in history, founded on a false premise. His statements devalue every championship won by Ferrari, and every Ferrari driver, as nothing more than a rigged fabrication to create revenue. There are massive implications to this admission. It also brings into question every steward and race director call against.opposing teams that favored Ferrari. Every dollar lost by gamblers betting against Ferrari. This is the type of admission people take to their graves, not blather on about casually to media. Liberty is going to be seething over this. Eclestone is transformed from a billionaire made rich by the sport he fabricated, to a resentful old man ratting himself out in an act of revenge. What else does he gain from such an open, clear admission? This also means that Ferrari losses, including the up-down proceedings of 2017, are scripted into the sport to build tension to sell ads, media access, and tickets. If Ferrari being beaten in tightly contested championships means more to F1 revenue, then Ferrari will continue to fail to win championships, in tight battles, like a favorite villain to be vanquished. The only thing we know now, is that the underlying presentation of the sport representing real, top of the technical ladder, automotive state of being… is a fraud. So much for the road relevance argument.

  • Matti

    I’m not sure what the ‘reveal’ is here. It was pretty clear that Ferrari were in bed with the FIA during the Schumy era. You’d have to be blind not to notice – how their appeals always went through, how rules were changed to make their illegal bodywork bits legal, the way they got Renault’s mass-damper banned (Fernando still won that one though), etc.

  • zke007

    F1 is becoming a joke. Seem Ecclestone dump F1 for a reason, the wall were coming down on him.
    He will let some other poor sap take the heat.

  • Salvu Borg

    bucketfullofbullshit. when he went out the door most of formula one problems followed him out that door.

  • Sempre Davanti

    Yeah right! How does allowing Mercedes get away with an illegal Pirelli
    tyre test with Hamilton and Rosberg trying to be unrecognizable by
    wearing black helmets help Ferrari?

  • Hans Wullems

    You’ll get more visitors in a McDonalds than in a 5 star restaurant.

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