Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes that German drivers Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel have been poor promoters of the sport, saying that they are “not so good for my business”.
Ecclestone has made no secret of his admiration and support for Lewis Hamilton in the past, calling the Briton “the best champion we have had in a very long time”.
Much of this support stems from Hamilton’s global fame as he embraces his celebrity status and is involved with events outside of F1.
Although Ecclestone was by no means critical of Rosberg, he made his thoughts clear when in conversation with the German driver for a feature on the official Formula 1 website.
“Generally I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time,” Ecclestone said. “He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music – you name it.
“Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous.”
Ecclestone said that the lack of promotion from Rosberg and Vettel has played a part in the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, comparing it with the success of the British Grand Prix thanks to Hamilton’s support.
“When it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport,” Ecclestone said. “From a pure business aspect – sorry Nico if I have to say this – you are not so good for my business.”
Rosberg defended himself, telling Ecclestone that he thought that was a “hard call”, but the CEO of the F1 Group made his thoughts clear.
“It sounds harder than it is meant,” he said. “Unfortunately you don’t have the German fans on your side. As the cancellation of the German Grand Prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for Formula 1.
“On the contrary Lewis is a hero in the UK. The British love Formula 1. Sebastian is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street.”
Fame aside, Hamilton and Rosberg will be going head-to-head in Monaco on Sunday, starting from first and second place on the grid respectively.
The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am ET on Sunday before moving over to NBC at 7:30am ET.