Visiting the Russian Grand Prix, where he will today will meet up with friend, and Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, Bernie Ecclestone was in no doubt as to why Ferrari‘s title hopes are falling apart.
“It’s too Italian,” he told ESPN. “I said to somebody the other day it’s back to the old days.”
Asked if he was referring to that (almost forgotten) period between Jody Scheckter’s title win in 1979 and Michael Schumacher’s in 2000, the Briton replied: “Yes, before.”
Indeed in the 20 seasons between 1979 and 2000, Ferrari won just 46 Grands Prix, 16 of which came once Schumacher arrived in 1996. Though the Maranello manufacturer won the constructors’ title in 1982 and 1983, the prestigious drivers’ title eluded it.
Fortune change however, when the Italian team sought out Peugeot Sport boss, Jean Todt, who in turn recruited technical director Ross Brawn and designer Rory Byrne from Benetton, along with a certain Mr Schumacher. A Frenchman, a Briton, a South African and a German.
“We got Todt to go there and look after things a little bit,” said Ecclestone, “so it wasn’t Italian too much, and Michael was running the team. So it was all a bit different. I think they’re missing that sort of a set-up now.
“Ferrari is looking after their car production side of things, gearing that more or less to their Formula One performances. So it’s run in a different way.”
It is not the first time Ecclestone has made the claim, and, as before, looking at the way the team has continually thrown away championships in recent years, he is correct.