Bernie Ecclestone tells Nico Rosberg he is ‘bad for business’ in F1

Nico Rosberg

Formula One’s chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, has told the title challenger Nico Rosberg that he is not good for his business.

In an astonishingly frank conversation between the two men on the official formula1.com, Ecclestone told Rosberg: “When it comes to F1, I am a huge Lewis Hamilton 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.”

The German countered: “Wait a minute. That is a hard call,” before Ecclestone came back: “It sounds harder than it is meant. 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.”

Ecclestone added: “Also the team principals should be more prominent. Take away Toto Wolff’s Mercedes shirt and send him down a street – nobody would recognise him.”

Returning to the two Mercedes drivers, Ecclestone added: “Generally I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time. 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.”

When the website asked Ecclestone would he rather meet in a lift, Hamilton or Rosberg, he replied: “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.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver in Monaco, for The Guardian on Sunday 24th May 2015 11.43 Europe/London

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