Marchionne dismisses Ecclestone claim as "hogwash"


He's thousands of miles away celebrating his 87th birthday, but nonetheless Bernie Ecclestone has come to upstaging world champion elect Lewis Hamilton's day of glory as he lobs a greande into the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez paddock.

Speaking exclusively to La Repubblica, the former F1 supremo not only said Mercedes had assisted with Ferrari's engine this year, thereby allowing the Italian team to mount a serious challenge, but that over the years the sport, especially on Max Mosley's watch, conspired to draft the rules in order that they favour the Italian marque.

"Helping Ferrari has always been the smartest thing to do," he said. "And it always has always been done through the technical regulations.

"Teams are important for F1," he continued, "but Ferrari is the most important. That's why over the years, many things have been done that have helped Maranello win.

"Teams have an interest in challenging a competitive Ferrari," he insisted. "It is one thing to win against Sauber, but another to win against a red car from Maranello."

"He's the only one who is able to sit on the other side of the world and throw a hand grenade and it actually lands in the paddock," said Toto Wolff when told of Ecclestone's claim, according to Reuters. "These stories are fantastic and I've missed them a little bit," he added. "I've missed the hand grenades and the pop-up meetings and the crisis situation and the rule and divide."

However, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne was having none of it.

"I think that's what they call unadulterated hogwash," he told reporters when asked about Ecclestone's claim. "I think Bernie should be very thankful that Ferrari was at the table, and helped him turn the sport into as financially lucrative a position as it ultimately materialised for his personal use.

"God bless him," he added. "I like Bernie, a lot, but I think Ferrari has done as much."

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Published: 29/10/2017
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