Ecclestone: Stoddart has no place in F1

Following the 'fighting fund' feud at yesterday's Montreal press conference, Bernie Ecclestone has said that Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart should not be in Formula 1

Ecclestone: Stoddart has no place in F1

Stoddart is fighting for the payment of a £5million fund that was proposed by Ron Dennis in January to help the small teams, but dependent on rule stability which subsequently did not materialise. The F1 power-broker said that the world's pinnacle motorsport series is not the place for enthusiasts.

"Frankly, I was trying to push them [Minardi] not to race this year because he [Stoddart] shouldn't be in Formula 1," said Ecclestone. "You see the sort of budgets needed - $300 or $400m dollars - and he is saying he needs $10m to finish the season.

"I did say in Austria last year that they should piss off, and I said at the end of the year that they should. But it is easier for me to say than for the guy to do. He is an enthusiast and he loves his racing, but we are a big professional business and can we afford enthusiasts? The answer is no.

"In the end, if you lost a Ferrari or a McLaren it wouldn't be good but if you lose somebody that far down the grid it really doesn't make much difference. It's not good to lose anybody, but it's better if they don't make it, that they go in a gentlemanly way - like most teams that have stopped.

"If he hasn't got the money he shouldn't be competing. It's like if you started a business and then things go bad and you are asking your competitors 'Please can you give me some money to help me compete against you?'"

Ecclestone added that in his opinion it would not be a disaster if F1 was reduced to less than 10 teams.

"We don't need 10 teams, we are happy with what we have got. We used to have 16 cars," he said, before describing Friday's public spat as "all a bit silly."

"Stoddart believed that these people had got together and agreed to give him some money to help him stay in business," he added. "They say it was agreed subject to a lot of things and the subjects didn't happen so there was no deal. That's the bottom line. We are trying to sort it out. I have been doing this firefighting for a an awful long time and this is just another fire that has flared up."

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