Q&A with Bernie Ecclestone

On the Bahrain decision and rescheduling the race:

"The Crown Prince (HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa) asked what I would do if I were him, and I answered, ‘You are there. We in Europe are hardly in the situation to make a serious judgment. Decide what is best for your country’. He cancelled I think it was the right decision. It was not an easy one.

"[To reschedule] the FIA has to change the calendar, and Bahrain has to apply for a new slot. The FIA World Council will meet at the beginning of March and could look into the situation. A decision has to be made before the season starts.

"We need a race in Bahrain. If the Crown Prince is of the opinion that his country is able to host a race we will return to Bahrain. I think the teams are sensible enough even to race in Bahrain in the summer break, and despite high temperatures, because this is the way we can support the country."

On Sebastian Vettel and those Ferrari rumors:

On whether Robert Kubica's crash should make drivers reassess extra-curricular activities:

"Let me say one thing, if you could choose your kind of accident I am sure they would all choose a Formula One car. Remember 2007 in Montreal? Kubica’s crash looked horrible and yet he got out of the car with a concussion and a twisted ankle. That clearly demonstrates that Formula One has become a truly safe sport.

"To prohibit certain activities will not do as it implies that you have to control their free time. I would have my own ideas of how to handle that situation."

On Michael Schumacher:

"If he has a competitive car, he’s a title contender. Michael retired as a seven-time world champion. That’s a bit of another league. When Lauda returned it was with McLaren and Prost with Williams, which were both the top teams at that time and that was unfortunately not the case with Mercedes last season.

"Michael is still very motivated and his physical fitness is as good as in his heyday. When you talk to him you feel with every word and every gesture that he wants to win again – more than anything else. If Mercedes gives him a competitive car, he will win again."

On whether F1 finances are fair:

It is not fair if a team with a £60 million budget has to compete with one that has a £300 million allowance. But that’s how it is. You have the same sort of ‘unfairness’ in many sports. Take soccer for example. Real Madrid or Bayern Munich can easily spend £60 million on new players and other clubs can’t. Life is not fair.

Formula One people will always spend whatever they have in their pocket. That’s a fact. Only technical limits will keep them away from spending sprees. I think we are heading in the right direction. Stable rules help save money.

On women in F1:

"Sex and money make the world go around. That is why I am sure that not so long from now 50 percent of the decision makers in the economy and politics will be women. Women have always had a strong influence, and have probably been in the background for too long. Isn’t there the saying that behind every successful man there is a woman?

"I think that women don’t get trapped so easily in their own ego. Women don’t have to play golf to make deals, they simply have to work harder to get the same acceptance as men. As their egos don’t stand in their way they decide things less emotionally and in the end that serves the cause."

On livening up F1:

"Let’s have medals instead of points. Drivers want to win and they are not racing for second, third or fourth place. So let’s have a system where wins count. Last season it would have worked pretty well. Vettel and Alonso would have been even after the last race with five gold medals each, and the same number of silver and bronze medals. Vettel would have won the world championship because he had more fourth places … I call that a thriller!

"Look at the races we have now. Overtaking is almost impossible because in the dry there is only one line good for maximum speed because of the rubber on the track. You have a completely different picture when it is wet. We always had the most exciting races in the wet so let’s think of making rain …

"There are race tracks that you can make artificially wet and it would be easy to have such systems at a number of tracks. Why not let it ‘rain’ in the middle of a race? For 20 minutes or the last ten laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all." The Telegraph

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