Bernie Ecclestone identifies Ferrari's main weakness versus Mercedes

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Qualifying

Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Ferrari's main weakness lies in their culture as they once again look like falling short against Mercedes in the championship.

The outspoken Briton made a rare appearance in the paddock at the Russian Grand Prix and was seen welcoming president and friend Vladimir Putin to the race during Sunday's race in Sochi.

Before he rekindled his bromance though, the 84-year-old was asked about the situation at the Scuderia, who have had the fastest car at times this season but, along with Sebastian Vettel, have produced errors at key moments.

For Ecclestone though, it is just the result of Ferrari doing Ferrari things.

“It’s too Italian," he told ESPN. "I said to somebody the other day it’s back to the old days.”

Clarifying what he meant by "old days", Bernie referred to the time when the Prancing Horse would often win the occasional race but rarely challenge for the championship.

When the golden era of the early 2000's was then mentioned, however...

“We got [Jean] Todt to go there [as team boss] and look after things a little bit, so it wasn’t Italian too much, and Michael [Schumacher] was running the team. So it was all a bit different," he continued.

Schumacher & Todt, along with Ross Brawn, ended decades of Ferrari disappointment

“I think they’re missing that sort of a set-up now.”

The "too Italian" argument isn't a new one either with Niki Lauda, who famously turned the team's fortunes around in the mid-1970's, making the same point back in 2009 when trying to explain a downturn in performance.

It is true that since the departure of Todt, things at Maranello have changed with the failed stints of Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci but since Maurizio Arrivabene arrived in 2014, it is he along with Vettel that have been praised for altering the philosophy at Ferrari and making them championship contenders once again.

Vettel and Arrivabene are aiming to repeat the success of their predecessors

Arguably, the biggest weakness is the amount of passion and emotion which has often led to the impulsive errors of judgement and Sebastian is as guilty as most for getting wrapped up in that.

Certainly, it is a great contrast to the precise, Germanic approach of Mercedes and that is another area Ecclestone thinks the two companies differ.

“Ferrari have got a completely different way of going on to Mercedes, haven’t they,” he added.

Lewis Hamilton & Toto Wolff have proven a tough combination to beat

“Mercedes has got a team that’s pure, all they do is racing, it’s nothing to do with the manufacturer.

“Ferrari is looking after their car production side of things, gearing that more or less to their F1 performances. So it’s run in a different way.”

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