Ecclestone: Mercedes should have declined, and Michelin’s not returning

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Veteran Formula One journalist Adam Cooper has been a busy man this Thursday and got two major nuggets from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

In Cooper’s blog, Ecclestone told Cooper that Mercedes was purely at fault for its secret test at Barcelona. Mercedes’ Ross Brawn essentially fell on the sword when he said in Montreal that the tire test of Pirelli’s 2013 compounds, on this year’s Mercedes W04, was his decision.

“Pirelli were doing the right thing, obviously. They couldn’t get out of a tire problem, if there had been proper testing, which there should be, they wouldn’t be in this problem,” Ecclestone told Cooper.

He added regarding Mercedes directly, “What is right, is right, you know. The one thing an unmarried girl has got is the right to say ‘no.’ You would have to reckon that Mercedes were in that position…”

Ecclestone also claimed Pirelli has a long-term contract in place already beyond this year, but no such deal has been done to confirm the tire manufacturer’s participation from 2014. He ruled out Michelin returning in the same breath.

“No idea. I haven’t got a clue. I haven’t spoken to anyone. We have a long-term contract with Pirelli, as the FIA do. And I think most of the teams have – I think they’ve done a deal with all the teams they want to do a deal with,” he said.

Ferrari junior Ilott victorious in Macau F3 qualification race

Theodore Racing
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Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott will start the 64th Macau Grand Prix from pole position after beating his Formula 3 rivals to victory in Saturday’s qualification race.

Ilott, 19, started third on the grid on Saturday behind pole-sitter Joel Eriksson and McLaren junior Lando Norris, but made a good start to rise to second early on.

Ilott hounded Eriksson for position for much of the race before battling past at Mandarin on Lap 7 as his Swedish rival struggled to keep his tires alive.

With Eriksson unable to respond, Ilott ultimately crossed the line more than seven seconds clear to take his first Macau win and secure pole for Sunday’s main event.

“We started quite strong as I got up to second from third which was not too bad. Then in the middle part of the race I had a good pace and I got past Joel for P1,” Ilott said.

“After that I managed to pull away. It was a good race, even quite relaxing at the end. I’m really happy for the result. Thank you SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, they did a great job and it should be good for tomorrow too.”

Eriksson held on to second ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who completed the podium ahead of Maximilian Günther in P4.

Ferdinand Habsburg finished fifth ahead of Pedro Piquet, while Norris was left to settle for a lowly P7 after a clutch issue off the line caused him to drop down the order.

You can see full results from the Macau F3 qualifying race here.