No TV 'blackout' of Mercedes - Ecclestone

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Bernie Ecclestone denied ordering a TV coverage 'blackout' of Mercedes cars in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

It wasn't lost on many that Mercedes' front-runners received minimal TV exposure during the broadcasting of Sunday's race, fueling conspiracy theories suggesting the ploy was deliberate on Ecclestone's part and intended on punishing Mercedes for refusing to supply engines to rival Red Bull.

But Formula 1's supremo rubbished the rumors, compounded by both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda's post-race remarks which alluded to their drivers' curious lack of presence in the coverage.

"We talked about TV coverage a few weeks ago and came to the conclusion that midfield runners should be shown more often," Ecclestone told Germany's Die Welt.

"Focusing exclusively on the leading cars is boring, but we're also doing it to help support the midfield teams. And both Toto and Niki know these considerations and understand them. There was no manipulation."

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen actually did not feature prominently either in Sunday's broadcast. But Ecclestone did admit however that the Japanese producer had perhaps exaggerated in his intent to shy away from the Silver Arrows to focus on the midfield runners.

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