Bernie Ecclestone has said that he thinks Lewis Hamilton would be the better champion for Formula 1 in 2014, but revealed that he thought the Briton’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, would win the title at the beginning of the year.
In a candid interview with both Ecclestone and Hamilton on formula1.com, the F1 supremo said that the bigger profile Hamilton enjoyed around the world would make him a better champion for the sport.
“At the beginning of the year, I thought Nico would be champion,” Ecclestone revealed. “I thought that would probably suit the team better, and in my position I thought it would be better for Formula 1 to have a world champion who can speak several languages.
“I thought that if there was going to be any help, which I am certain that there hasn’t been, then maybe there would be a bit more support forthcoming from a German team for a German driver. So yes, I was sure that Nico would do it.
“Privately I thought that Lewis would be a good champion. He is more widely known around the world than Nico. Consequently, he would be the better champion for the sport.
“I’m sure that, for example, 80% of the people in America know Lewis, and it’s probably the same for the rest of the world. Most people haven’t heard of Nico.
“Therefore, Lewis would be the better champion as far as this sport is concerned.”
The full interview saw both Hamilton and Ecclestone face a range of questions on a number of topics, ranging from the quality of the trophies that the drivers are given to the increasingly economic nature of the sport.
You can read the full interview on the official F1 website here.
In Brazil today, Hamilton and Rosberg go head-to-head once again in the penultimate race of the year. Just 24 points separate them at the top of the standings, and ahead of the final double points round in Abu Dhabi, the race at Interlagos could be a pivotal prequel to their final showdown.
Be sure to join us from 10:30a ET today on CNBC for all of the coverage from Brazil.