Bernie Ecclestone says he is relishing the prospect of Formula One’s young-guns coming up against the experienced Michael Schumacher and has tipped Sebastian Vettel to capture next season’s world championship.
According to the F1-Supremo, Schumacher will have a number of rivals next season with the 22-year-old Vettel being the more prominent of them all.
“There are several – [Lewis] Hamilton, [Fernando] Alonso… But I will say this now: Vettel will be the next world champion.” Ecclestone told the German newspaper Bild.
However Ecclestone is more than confident that the 41-year-old Schumacher will pose an ominous threat to the younger drivers.
“Without a doubt, the young ones will want to beat him,” he said. “He will make sure of that. That’s the appeal of all of this.”
Ecclestone also reiterated his belief that the 2010 season has the potential of being a classic, with the return of Schumacher and the strength of the field in general.
“I was of course a little surprised – I didn’t really expect that he would drive for Mercedes, but now I’m just simply very, very happy,” he added.
“He wouldn’t have come back had he not been thinking of victory. He really does seem very motivated.
“It is good for everyone, very good actually. For the media, for the fans and for the sponsors – but I cannot express it in numbers. It is impossible to calculate.
“Don’t forget, next year we have four current or former world champions in the shape of Alonso, Hamilton, [Jenson] Button and Schumacher on the starting line. I can’t remember the last time that happened.”