Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is hoping Sebastian Vettel’s rivals break the world champion’s run of dominance this season.
The F1 chief executive is an avowed fan and friend of the 24-year-old Red Bull driver, but for the sake of the sport he wants the German to be chased down in 2012 after two consecutive successful championship campaigns.
Asked by Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten at the Kitzuhel skiing event if Vettel will dominate this season, the 81-year-old laughed: “I hope not!
“Of course, Red Bull are still going to be there. I would much prefer a fight for the world title right to the end of the season.”
But if Vettel does dominate again, Ecclestone said the most important thing is that the individual races are exciting.
“The TV viewers care more about the tension of the race than the championship,” he insisted.
It is very possible that Red Bull designer Adrian Newey has penned yet another field-beater, so in that case Ecclestone will be cheering for Vettel’s teammate, Australian Mark Webber.
“I don’t want Red Bull to dominate in the same way but I fear that’s what will happen. That’s why I put my hopes on Mark Webber’s shoulders. This year we will see a situation where he can show his talent much more.”
Ecclestone is also crossing his fingers for Red Bull’s rival teams.
“I would be surprised if Mercedes don’t win a race this year. As for Ferrari, I can only hope they improve significantly. Alonso is super-talented and deserves a perfect car.”
And as for the occupant of the other Ferrari, 1964 world champion John Surtees said the pressure is on the team’s Brazilian “weak link” Felipe Massa.
“He’ll either have to perform consistently well, or make way,” he told the Sun.