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Ecclestone: Ferrari, Mercedes refusal to help Red Bull “ridiculous”

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Bernie Ecclestone has criticized Ferrari and Mercedes for refusing to supply Red Bull with an engine for the 2016 Formula 1 season, calling their fear of increased competition “completely ridiculous”.

Red Bull is currently without an engine supplier for next year after choosing to cut ties with Renault after a season filled with quit threats and complaints about the quality of its power unit.

However, with both Mercedes and Ferrari unwilling to supply one of their fiercest rivals with a same-spec power unit, Red Bull has been left to backtrack over its comments regarding Renault and even open negotiations with Honda, exploring every possible avenue to remain on the grid.

In an exclusive interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ecclestone said that he believes Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is still undecided about whether or not to continue pouring millions of dollars into racing in the sport.

“Mr. Mateschitz is fortunate enough to be able to pull the plug if he wanted to. He doesn’t have to ask anybody,” Ecclestone said.

“He is used to winning and doesn’t want to be put in a position where he could be unfairly beaten. Unfairly! When he won the world championships he was competing on the same terms as anybody else. Probably he has not made up his mind yet.

“The reasons why Ferrari or Mercedes don’t want to give Red Bull the same engine as they will race in 2016 is because they are afraid that they might get beaten – which is completely ridiculous.

“And should it really happen, then they should rush back to the drawing board. This is a sport that has competition it its DNA, not asset protection.”

Ecclestone also said that he would like to see the power unit design in F1 be simplified and made cheaper to allow more manufacturers enter the sport.

“I would prefer an engine that is a bit simpler,” he said. “What we have now is a superb piece of engineering – but it is extremely expensive, so every manufacturer coming in can’t afford not to get it right.

“And it is hard to get it right. As I said, I wish it would be simpler, but the people who are now successful won’t let it go – because now they are secure.”

Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”