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Ecclestone: “I hope every race is going to be like a wet race”

Mar 10, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

With the start of a new World Championship just days away, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is expecting the unexpected this season.

New technical regulations have already had a major impact on preseason testing and could very well jumble the sport’s established pecking order beginning with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

It’s a prospect that Ecclestone appears to be looking forward to.

“I hope every race is going to be like a wet race – unpredictable is the word,” the British billionaire told Reuters yesterday.

Certainly, the crown jewel of Ecclestone’s empire could use a competitive shake-up following four straight years of dominance from champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing.

The German’s romp to his fourth consecutive world title – in which he won 13 races and closed the year on a nine-race win streak – seemed to also have a noticeable effect on F1’s global TV ratings, which fell about 10 percent (Ecclestone himself said last fall that Vettel’s success wasn’t eroding the viewership).

But with Vettel and Red Bull (along with engine supplier Renault) having struggled mightily in winter tests at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain and in Bahrain, the title would appear to truly be up for grabs even if Red Bull manages to turn the corner following the early season races.

And should it indeed be a free-for-all, that could mean better business for F1 – and, of course, Ecclestone.

Speaking of business, Ecclestone also told Reuters that he should be able to keep running the sport even though he’ll have to face a bribery trial next month.

“We will attend as and when we have to, a couple of days a week,” he said about the situation. “We’ll be able to deal with that internally.”

Last week, Ecclestone said he was now searching for his successor. He is charged with allegations that he bribed a German banker that was linked to the sale of F1 rights.

Ecclestone has maintained that he was blackmailed by the banker, Gerhard Gribowsky, who had allegedly threatened to report him to British tax authorities. Gribowsky has since been sent to prison.

  1. indycar02 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    ole bernie sure does look good for his age.

  2. digbysellers - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    So does his daughter

    • indycar02 - Mar 14, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      well (lol), we know that.

  3. Matthew - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    *reads article in full* Would someone please tell the troll to shut the hell up? The season’s not even begun yet and he’s spouting the usual crap once again…

  4. worknman24hours - Mar 11, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    I’m with you Bernie.

    Let’s have a season where drivers don’t run away from the field.

    Some turbo engine letdowns, some running out of gas, some unreliability, just a great fight all the way to the end with a great last race too.

    A safe, fun and challenging fight every race.

  5. Jeff - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Wait, wait, wait … so unpredictability is good? Dominance by one team is bad? Parity is better?

    • worknman24hours - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Well, you don’t want another 20% drop off in viewers.

      Even if part of that drop off was due to some pay for view equation changes.

      Hard to market shrinking viewership for more money.

      Besides, believe it or not,for as much as some people like to dump on Bernie, he’s a Formula One race fan as much as a businessman .

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