|Bernie Ecclestone can't imagine Ferrari leaving F1|
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone says he "can't imagine" Formula 1 without Ferrari.
Recently, amid suggestions the sport will force through a reduced budget cap for 2021, team boss Mattia Binotto hinted that the Maranello team could look elsewhere in the world of motor racing.
"I could never imagine Formula 1 without Ferrari," former F1 supremo Ecclestone told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.
"Formula 1 is Ferrari and Ferrari is Formula 1. It could happen, but I really can't imagine it," the 89-year-old added.
Ecclestone also clarified his recent comments about Binotto, having suggested that he should not be Ferrari team principal.
"I didn't speak badly about him," the Briton insists. "I said that he is a super, super engineer and that he knows everything about Ferrari.
"But it is a different thing to be an engineer and to be a team principal. A manager must be ruthless to achieve his goals, and instead I think he is a very sensitive, really good person."
Ecclestone thinks Flavio Briatore would be a better candidate.
"I always thought he would be the right person," he said. "If Flavio sees someone good on another team, he takes him. I don't know if Binotto would do the same – leave one of his people at home."
Ecclestone also said he is not a supporter of the planned budget cap for 2021 and beyond.
"The numbers that an average team spends are completely crazy," he said. "But there have always been rich teams and teams with no money in Formula 1.
"I remember when I was managing Brabham, we were certainly not a rich team while Ferrari always had three, four times as much as us or Lotus. Us and Lotus won some of the world championships – we could all win, but today it's different," he added.
Finally, Ecclestone was asked about Lewis Hamilton, who this year could equal Michael Schumacher's record of seven world championships.
"Very, very, very talented," he said of the Mercedes driver. "With a very, very, very strong team behind him.
"But if you had to name the top five drivers ever, you have to put Lewis among them."