Following criticism of Sebastian Vettel’s winless 2016 season, Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has come out and defended the four-time World Champion.
Adding to his woes, Vettel, who is regarded as Ferrari’s number one, was also out-performed by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in a number of races. The German did however manage to pip the Finn on the Drivers’ Standings.
Ecclestone, though, believes that it wasn’t Vettel’s fault that Ferrari failed to win a Grand Prix in 2016, saying the Scuderia need fresh faces and a revamp in their garage if they are to be successful.
“It’s not his fault that he’s not winning,” he told Bild.
“It’s about the car and the team.
“Ferrari has fallen back into the time before Schumacher and Todt. There are too many Italians working there.
“Nothing against Italy, but running a team successfully is not in their DNA. Ferrari needs fresh blood. But I’m sure Sebastian is doing everything he can to succeed.”
The Brit also believes that Vettel is dedicated to Ferrari despite the Mercedes rumours.
“Sebastian’s mission is called Ferrari, because I know that he wants to succeed there first,” he said.
When quizzed about Ferrari’s chances this year, Ecclestone doubts they or Red Bull can challenge Mercedes.
“I don’t think so,” he added.
“Their engine will still be the best, giving them a huge advantage. Equalising the situation can only be done with new engine regulations, so we need to do that as soon as possible.”