Sunday September 10th, 2000
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone admitted on Sunday he was "pro-Ferrari" and said reigning world champion Mika Hakkinen lacked glamour.
"I'm pro-Ferrari. It doesn't help but I am pro-Ferrari. It's been proved over the last few races that it doesn't help," the 69-year-old Briton told ITV ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
"I was quite close with Mr. Ferrari in the old days and they're magic," he said.
"Whether our British teams like it or not, they're special."
Asked if Finn Hakkinen lacked the character to become world champion again this year Ecclestone said: "In some ways it's good if he's world champion again because someone that's been three times consecutive world champion is super.
"But he hasn't got the glamour that...someone like Nelson Piquet and those sort of people those days had. I don't know who has. I mean we've lost Senna who had some charisma."
"Michael (Schumacher) is different. He's a lovely, lovely guy. People get upset and think he's whatever, arrogant or something. He's a super guy, anything but arrogant."
Asked about the German's chances of overhauling Hakkinen in the race for the drivers' title Ecclestone said:
"It's good that Michael didn't succeed in the couple of races that he probably could have won quite easily. We'd have been here with him possibly 30 points in the lead which would've not been very good.
"The incident he had when he broke his leg (last season)...he probably would have won the championship then, so it is just for him to win." Schumacher won the Italian grand prix ahead of Hakkinen to cut the Finn's lead to two points.
Ecclestone had stern words for Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix.
"Silverstone is like an old house now. It's about time, it's not a case of just a repaint job, it needs pulling down and rebuilding.
"We should have the best Grand Prix in the world and we haven't. We've got the worst."