Ecclestone hoping Ferrari challenge will lift F1

Ferrari appear to be Mercedes nearest rivals this season following pre-season testing

Ferrari appear to be Mercedes’ nearest rivals this season following pre-season testing

Bernie Ecclestone hopes an improved challenge from Ferrari will enhance Formula 1’s appeal this season.

The sport’s boss has been particularly scathing of F1’s current plight during the off-season stating that the show needs to improve to win back support from existing fans and grow its audience.

After two years of Mercedes domination, Ecclestone believes a concerted bid from Ferrari to topple Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would help create a buzz around F1.

Ferrari emerged as Mercedes’ nearest rivals last season, scoring three victories.

The Maranello team is preparing to challenge the Silver Arrows once again this year after topping five of the eight days of pre-season testing.

“I’m hoping upon hope Ferrari get back to where Ferrari should be, which is challenging for the world championship, and the same with Red Bull,” said Ecclestone on the official Australian Grand Prix Podcast.

“It depends an awful lot on how Ferrari perform.

”If they don’t show they can win the championship, unfortunately – or fortunately depending on where you are – we’re going to have a Mercedes dominating again.

“Having said that, maybe Nico (Rosberg), after three wins (at the end of) last year, he’s going to be in form.

“Maybe he has suddenly got a bit more confidence in himself, so let’s see.

“If those two (Hamilton and Rosberg) are challenging each other, it will be good.”

Ecclestone went on to say that he feels F1’s needs “10 more Daniel Ricciardos” to lift the sport’s profile.

The 85-year-old is an admirer of Ricciardo, who has grown to become one of the more popular figures in the sport following this breakthrough year at Red Bull in 2014 that saw the Australian score three victories.

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