© Getty Images

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

5 Comments

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.”

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
Leave a comment

While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter