Bernie Ecclestone fronted a surprise open media session in Bahrain an hour ago, where he let fly on everything from the controversy surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix, 2014 engines and the soft tyre debacle.
Opening with as dry an opening gambit as ever, Ecclestone congratulated the attending journalists in Bahrain for their dedication to sports reporting, in light of the human rights side-show peripherating this Grand Prix weekend.
“It’s be nice to see some reporting on the race”, Ecclestone remarked “… I mean I think anyone who really wants to see and talk about human rights (issues) should go to Syria. There’s plenty of places in the world where you can go like Egypt; where they’ve gotten rid of dictators and put democracy in… And now there’s more trouble!”
Heavy security has been organised for both race crews and the media contingent in Bahrain; with x-ray scanning upon entry and special shuttles out of the circuit. A fact that Bernie was keen to reiterate.
“I don’t have any problems and you guys don’t have any problems. I’ve been coming here a long time before we had the race here and I’ve always thought people have done very well here”.
The mood lightened somewhat when a Mexican journalist asked cheekily: “What about Mexico?”
“Have you got any money?… I’m joking! quipped Ecclestone. “We’re going to sort it out”.
The topic quickly moved onto the 2014 engine change, a move that Ecclestone has long been opposed to and used the media session to once again warn manurfacturers against going against his good judgement, stating:
“Well you know I’ve been ‘anti’ since day one. And if we don’t be mindful we’re going to have a fuel economy run for sure so we have to be very careful”.
Autosport’s Deiter Renken quizzed Bernie however, suggesting that next year’s technical regulations could be written to prevent such an eventuality. Ecclestone however believed the FIA was more than flexible, but the manurfacturers were not. A line that has been consistantly refuted by both Charlie Whiting and the three manurfacturers currently in Formula One. Nevertheless, Bernie was happy with the regulations as they currently stand.
“I think the FIA would be happy to have it looked at, but it’s the manurfacturers that don’t want it touched, cited Ecclestone. “I’ve always said we’ve made big committments to get where we are and if one of them got it wrong, whatever committments you’ve made you’re going to spend an awful lot more to get it right… What we’ve got at the moment is good, there’s nothing wrong with it”.
Before he left, Bernie offered a parting riposte when asked what his reaction was to Mark’s comment that the Pirelli tyre situation was turning Formula One into a World Wrestling Federation-style mockery.
“I think the only wrestling we’ve seen has been between Sebastian and Mark”, he quipped.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic