Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo branded Bernie Ecclestone’s comments describing Red Bull’s Christian Horner as his “ideal” successor a “joke”.
With the F1 supremo currently in the middle of a high level court case on bribery charges and because of his advanced age, Ecclestone is looking to a future without himself at the helm of the sport he developed.
It is believed F1 owners CVC are looking to headhunt Ecclestone’s successor from outside the sport but the 83-year-old said he would hold Horner’s hand in a process of transition that would see the 40-year-old take to the helm.
Asked abut his comments by Spain’s Marca newspaper Ecclestone added: ”He (Horner) is an intelligent man and I think he would get on with all the people he would have to.”
For his part Horner has constantly pushed back the comments describing them as “flattering” while reiterating his commitment to Red Bull.
Speaking to Rai TV in Italy, the Ferrari President described Ecclestone’s comments as a “joke”.
“As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so,” he said.
He also dismissed Ecclestone’s comments made earlier in the year placing Sebastian Vettel on the same level as the great Ayrton Senna, the man most have as the greatest of all time.
“Ecclestone says what suits him,” he answered, “but there is no doubt he (Vettel) is a great driver. He is a serious young man who has won a lot and therefore he deserves respect.”
Meanwhile Ferrari have also dismissed claims of what they describe as a "fantasy" budget that was claimed by British magazine Autosport recently.
In the article it claimed the famous Italian team has a budget of €250m, a reported €15m more than Red Bull and a huge €90m more than the next highest.
In their opinionated column titled the 'Horse Whisperer' on their official website, Ferrari hit back at the claims.
"It would be easy to deny the figures with facts," Ferrari added, "but the truth about business matters has to stay confidential."
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