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Ecclestone: Vettel the victim of Italian job

NEWS STORY
05/01/2017

Bernie Ecclestone reiterates that it is Ferrari's Italian culture that is holding the team back.

Much like the last three years of Mercedes domination, before that Red Bull ruled the roost for a few years, it is the way of things.

And then there was that golden era when Ferrari ruled. After several years of near misses, Michael Schumacher, who moved to Maranello from Enstone in 1996, won the title in 2000. He continued winning the title until 2004, before being shown the door in favour of Kimi Raikkonen who was himself moved aside in favour of Fernando Alonso. It is the way of Ferrari.

Before that golden era however, there was a long, lean period of twenty-one years in which time Ferrari failed to provide the car for the world champion driver. There were a couple of constructor's titles, but prior to Schumacher's championship in 2000 the previous Maranello champion was Jody Scheckter in 1979.

A significant part of that championship winning team in 2000, and that which had threatened for several season before, was the international set charged with putting Ferrari back on top; Frenchman Jean Todt, Briton Ross Brawn and South African Rory Byrne. Italian traditionalists were outraged at this takeover by foreigners who knew nothing of 'la passione'... but it worked.

Now, as Ferrari reflects on its second season in three years in which it failed to score a single win, its ninth year without a title, Bernie Ecclestone reiterates his belief that it is the Italian way which is damaging the team.

"Ferrari has fallen back again into the era before Schumacher and Todt," he told Sport Bild.

"Too many Italians are working for the team at the moment," he continued. "I have nothing against Italy, but to have a firm rule within a team doesn't run in Italian DNA.

"Ferrari needs fresh blood," he warned. "I'm sure Sebastian does all he can do to be successful, the question is how much are they willing to let him do. It's not his fault that he doesn't win. It's down to the car and the team."

Nonetheless, Ecclestone believes that Vettel, who would dearly love to repeat the feat of his hero Schumacher, will remain loyal to the Maranello outfit.

"Sebastian's mission is Ferrari," said the Briton. "The way I know him he wants to fulfil this mission first."

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