Ecclestone writes off Leclerc and Ferrari hopes
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has issued a blunt verdict on Charles Leclerc's title hopes and has declared those backing Ferrari this season will "get nothing".
Red Bull's defending champion Max Verstappen has won six of the nine races so far this season to establish a dominant 49-point advantage over Leclerc – who is also three points adrift of Sergio Perez – in the drivers' championship.
That deficit has come amid a huge swing in the standings, with Leclerc previously holding a 46-point advantage over Verstappen following the opening three rounds of the season as the Dutch driver was forced to retire from two of those races.
However, Leclerc's most recent victory came in Australia in April and Verstappen has won five of the six races since, with Ecclestone stating he now has it "easy".
"Errors are creeping in again. The reliability we are seeing is often reminiscent of the old days and the drivers themselves are not always confident on the track," he told Blick.
"It means Max is having an easy time in the Red Bull with six wins already."
Ecclestone added that he had wanted to see Ferrari perform better in the 2022 season but early showings have ultimately led him to write off the team's chances.
"Like many people, I had hoped that Ferrari would succeed again after more than 14 years," he said.
"Unfortunately, I have to say that anyone who continues to put their money on Ferrari or Leclerc will get nothing."
Ferrari have not won the constructors' championship since 2008 and, from 1999 to 2008, had clinched the title in eight of the ten seasons.
Kimi Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to win the drivers' championship with his triumph in 2007, and is the only driver to win with Ferrari since Michael Schumacher's last success in 2004.