Bernie Ecclestone wouldn't be surprised if "Mercedes stopped" ahead of 2021

17-11-2019 12:20
by Matt Gretton
General
Bernie Ecclestone wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes stopped ahead of 2021

Bernie Ecclestone says he "wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes stopped" after the 2020 F1 season. The former boss of F1 also weighs in on Lewis Hamilton's future as he predicts a Max Verstappen/Charles Leclerc future at Ferrari if the Italians were given the opportunity. 

Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Ecclestone told The Daily Mail his opinion on Hamilton's future within Formula 1. He also suggested that Mercedes might leave the sport, adding to Toto Wolff's comments earlier in the week. The boss of the Silver Arrows said "it's not a given" that Mercedes will continue to race in F1. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes stopped. There has been change at the top and the new people are not so enthusiastic about Formula One as the old people used to be. They might think we have won seven world championships — which they will have done by the end of next year — so why stay?" the 89-year-old said. 

Ecclestone went on to put himself in Hamilton's shoes. Hamilton will be 36 by the time the 2021 F1 season gets underway but has so far shown a keen interest in racing beyond the rule and regulation overhaul. 

"If I were Lewis I'd think, 'I've won another title,' and I'd stop. If Charles Leclerc stays at Ferrari, I'd put money on him to win against Lewis. He's not necessarily better but he is established in the team," Ecclestone continued. 

"Ferrari is a strange place to work. Lewis doesn't speak Italian. They might gang up on him — or fall in love with him — but I don't think he would do as good a job for himself or the sport as he is doing with Mercedes."

Finally, Ecclestone added a word on Ferrari. Over the last couple of years, speculation has been over whether Hamilton will move to Ferrari for the final chapters of his career. Ecclestone insists he might not get the chance. 

"If Ferrari had a choice of Lewis or Max Verstappen I think they would go for Max, for the same reason they like Charles. With Sebastian Vettel or Lewis, they will only get a couple of years but with the younger two, they might get 10 years. I'm not sure Max isn't the best guy at the moment, including Lewis," he continued. 

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