Ecclestone comments spark fierce reactions

© XPB 

Bernie Ecclestone's comments published yesterday about the state of Formula 1's affairs, in which the 85-year-old supremo openly disparaged the sport, have triggered a chain of reactions from insiders.

On the eve of Formula 1's first pre-season test at Barcelona, Eccelstone told the Daily Mail that Grand Prix racing was the worst it has ever been, adding that he also believed he may be running "something that is illegal".

With F1 teams, Ecclestone and the FIA set for a crucial series of meetings today in Geneva to define the sport's future regulations, the comments were sure to trigger a firestorm of controversy, and even outrage.

"If that’s the way he wants to tread as a promoter, then that’s his decision," said Mercedes' Toto Wolff, whom Eccelstone regards as one of the main opponents to radical change.

Red Bull's Christian Horner, who has been also preaching for change, was rather measured in his response, even understanding Ecclestone's stance.

"I think Bernie is frustrated with where F1 is," he said. "In the old days it would have been easier to fix it. Now we have this democracy it’s very hard to get everyone to agree.

"But we need to do it now because if we need unanimous agreement then you might as well forget it."

On the other hand, Mercedes F1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, who drove for Ecclestone in the 1980s, was outraged by the remarks, blasting their author.

"Everything is just starting to get going, everyone is very positive and he (Ecclestone) has to do this and destroy everything, said the former triple world champion.

"I just don’t understand why he does it — the master of the sport being so critical. We are having a big meeting with Bernie and I hope someone asks him his reasons for saying those things."

The atmosphere in Geneva today promises to be highly charged, which perhaps does not bode well for serene discussions and the positive outcome everyone is hoping for.

"Let’s see what happens," concluded Red Bull's Horner. "He wants to shake things up a bit — he’s the promoter, he’s got to sell F1around the world and he wants it to be the most exciting and spectacular that it can possibly be."

Follow live coverage and timing from pre-season testing here

Who is driving when during the first pre-season test

GALLERY: Pre-season testing day one

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter