Bernie Ecclestone says Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel are "not so good" for business, blaming them for the demise of the German GP.
In a candid interview with Rosberg for the official F1 website, Ecclestone reiterated his comments that Lewis Hamilton is the "best" World Champion that Formula 1 has had in many years.
"I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time," he said.
"He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music – you name it. That is not your [Nico’s] fault or his. You two are just very different characters."
He added: "Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous."
Rather than be insulted by the 84-year-old's comments, Rosberg said "of course" he understands where Ecclestone is coming from.
He added: "Bernie is the commercial rights holder so the more outgoing the champion is, the better. Of course. I also do think about our sport and want to make an effort – but in my own way. I am Nico and not Lewis!"
Pressed as who he would rather be stuck in an elevator with, Ecclestone tried for the diplomatic answer only to concedes that Rosberg is bad for business.
He said: "I wouldn't mind both. But I think I would find it easier to talk with Nico than Lewis, as Lewis is into things that are very distant to me.
"But when it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport.
"From a pure business aspect – sorry Nico if I have to say this – you are not so good for my business."
Explaining his reasoning, the 84-year-old implied that Rosberg and fellow German Vettel had played a role in the demise of the German GP as they had failed to get the public on their side.
"It sounds harder than it is meant," he continued. "Unfortunately you don't have the German fans on your side. As the cancellation of the German Grand Prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for Formula One.
"On the contrary Lewis is a hero in the UK. The British love Formula One. Sebastian (Vettel) is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognise him on the street."