Mercedes more popular for collisions, says Ecclestone

Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:55am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Collisions between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have made champions Mercedes more popular than their wins, Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Sunday.

"Right now people think: they will win anyway. That’s it. There are no emotions about something that is so obvious," the 85-year-old told the official website.

"The two Mercedes guys crashing gives them more popularity than winning. Just look at what is going on since Austria; more positive publicity in my opinion. It’s shown that they let their guys race."

Triple world champion Hamilton and Rosberg, who leads the championship, collided on the last lap in Austria a week ago while fighting for victory.

The incident, the third in five races between the two, has been the talk of the paddock with Mercedes announcing on Thursday that both would remain free to race but with stricter rules of engagement.

Team boss Toto Wolff has warned of stiff penalties for whoever is to blame for further collisions.

Hamilton won in Austria, with Rosberg fourth after leading into the last lap. The collision was the most serious since the one in Spain in May where they came together on the first lap and retired.

Ecclestone expected Hamilton to win the title for a fourth time this year.   Continued...

Britain Formula One - F1 - British Grand Prix 2016 - Silverstone, England - 10/7/16
President and CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone before the race
REUTERS/Matthew Childs