Bernie Ecclestone does not think Susie Wolff will ever realise her dream of lining up on the F1 grid.
Briton Wolff, whose Austrian husband Toto is the Mercedes chief and Williams co-owner, will need a full race super license in 2014 as she appears on the Friday mornings at Silverstone and Hockenheim at the wheel of the Mercedes-powered Williams.
But F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who once notoriously admitted he hopes the 31-year-old is “as quick in a car as she looks good out of” it, doubts Wolff will ever actually race in grands prix.
“Susie Wolff is good,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald, “but will she ever be in a position to show how good she is? I doubt it.
“The big problem with a woman, even if she’s good enough, is having the opportunity to show that,” 83-year-old Ecclestone explained.
“Because a team won’t take a woman driver unless they bring them massive sponsorship. So you could have a very, very good woman driver and she would not get what she deserves,” he added.
A greater matter on Ecclestone’s mind at present is the sport’s all-new turbo V6 era.
Fiercely critical of the move to quieter engines, the diminutive Briton will have heard with alarm the criticism in Melbourne of the ‘sewing machines on wheels’.
“I think at the beginning when all this started we thought this would attract a lot of manufacturers who manufacture the size of engine that we are using in 2014,” he said.
“Formula one is entertainment,” Ecclestone insisted. “The trouble is that sometimes we forget that. These are the people who buy the tickets, turn on the TV and produce the money so that the sport can grow.”
FIA president Jean Todt, however, is just as fiercely dismissive of Ecclestone’s and the fans’ concerns, insisting the matter will be all forgotten “after a few laps in Melbourne”.
The Frenchman is taking criticism of the highly-controversial ‘double points’ idea for the season finale much more seriously.
As far as he is concerned, the tweak to keep interest in the championship until the end is merely “a little change”, and far less significant than the important “revolution” to modernise F1’s engine regulations.
But Todt also admitted the FIA is prepared to drop the ‘double points’ idea.
“If it doesn’t work, it is easy to get rid of for next year,” he told the Daily Mail.
“We will see if there is more interest at the end of the championship. If not, I would be the first to say let’s go back to the way it was.”
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