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Ecclestone drops in on Ferrari event

NEWS STORY
15/01/2009

Bernie Ecclestone was a surprise visitor to the Ferrari media event at Madonna di Campiglio today.

The Englishman posed for photographers, sitting on a Ducati MotoGP bike, and talked to reporters on a whole range of issues including the state of Jackie Stewart's mind.

One of the main issues journalists were eager to press the F1 supremo on was the proposal that the championship be decided on the number of wins as opposed to points, with drivers being awarded medals.

"Forget the word medals," said Ecclestone, "I just think the guy that wins the most races should win the championship. I don't think a guy that is second who's got a lot of points should be world champion, that's all.

"This year a lot of them sat there being second," he continued. "It's up to the teams to really push that through. I hope they have enough sense to agree."

Under Ecclestone's proposal, Felipe Massa would have been crowned World Champion rather than Lewis Hamilton.

"I hoped that Felipe would do something last year so let's hope he does it this year," he said. "Lewis had back luck the year before and won the championship, Felipe had bad luck last year so I hope this year he recovers."

Following comments made by Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo before Christmas, when the Italian, who also heads the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), called on Ecclestone to increase the share of the money paid to teams, many were surprised to see the Englishman today, especially as he was decked out in a Ferrari jacket.

However, asked if his visit signalled an end to the dispute, before it has really kicked off, he admitted that he had been invited. "I'm staying until Saturday and as long as they keep paying the bills I'm happy," he joked. "As soon as I have to pay for the hotel, I'm leaving."

Referring to the call for more money, he cheekily suggested that he might actually reduce the amount handed to the teams.

"Maybe now that we've managed to really reduce costs a lot we'll be able to pay them less money," he said. "They don't need so much money now."

And in reference to recent comments from Jackie Stewart, who called on Ecclestone, and Max Mosley, to step down, the F1 supremo hit back: "Most times - and I am frightened about this - when people get older, they become a bit senile and he's just caught it a bit early, that's all," said the 78-year-old.

Touché.

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