Mercedes will struggle to return to the top in Formula 1 this year, and not just because Red Bull is technically superior. This is the opinion of former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who has praised the patience and progress of the Milton Keynes-based team during Mercedes’ dominant years, becoming the new force in the sport.
“They patiently endured Mercedes’ victories in the previous years, replacing every weak link one by one,” declared the 93-year-old to the German magazine Sport Bild.
“Now they have the best team, the best design, the best car, the best driver. They have done an excellent job. ‘The trend is your friend’ does not only apply to the stock market. If there’s anyone who can do it, that’s Ferrari. Not Mercedes, and not just because of the car. Lewis Hamilton has slowed down a bit, and George Russell hasn’t been as good as he thought. However, they shouldn’t have lost as dramatically as they did.” – he pointed out.
Bernie Ecclestone believes the ace up Red Bull’s sleeve is obvious: Max Verstappen.
“Max is the measure of all things right now. You could put him in a McLaren or probably in a Ferrari or a Mercedes, and he would win.”
Speaking of McLaren, the British tycoon admits that Lando Norris is truly a top driver, but he is not the only one who has surprised him: “What impresses me the most is this young Australian, Oscar Piastri. One day, he will be a champion.”
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What has not surprised Bernie Ecclestone, however, is how Gunther Steiner (dismissed from Haas, editor’s note) handled former Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick Schumacher’s F1 career: “He was never given the chance to show what he could do. Mick got lost in the wrong team with the wrong people. The people there took him for his name, but they were never interested in whether he was good or not.” – he concluded.