Bernie Ecclestone has found himself torn when evaluating George Russell’s potential to become a Formula 1 World Champion.
However, he unequivocally believes that Oscar Piastri has already showcased the qualities required for such an achievement.
As Max Verstappen dominates the Formula 1 grid, the sport witnesses a surge of talented drivers yearning for their chance to contend for a Drivers’ Championship title.
George Russell, now in his fifth year on the grid, enjoys the support of his team principal, Toto Wolff, who sees championship potential in the British driver.
Russell shares this belief, awaiting an opportunity from Mercedes to provide him with a competitive car capable of competing at the front of the grid.
However, in a season largely dominated by Red Bull, Russell faced a setback during the Singapore Grand Prix.
Battling fiercely with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris for the race win, Russell’s hopes were dashed when he made a critical mistake on the last lap.
Contact with the outside wall under braking for Turn 7 led to a race-ending collision with the barrier.
This incident has left Bernie Ecclestone uncertain about Russell’s capabilities. He appreciates Russell’s talent but questions his racecraft, drawing comparisons to Lewis Hamilton.
Ecclestone shared his thoughts with the Daily Mail, stating, “I can’t make up my mind about him.
“I like him. He is super-talented.
“It is a matter of what he is prepared to do to win.
“I don’t think he thinks his race through, something Lewis [Hamilton] does do.”
In light of these considerations, Ecclestone expressed his preference for another young star of the sport, Oscar Piastri.
The Australian driver recently achieved a significant milestone by securing his maiden front-row grid position at the Japanese Grand Prix and followed it up with a remarkable podium finish, placing his McLaren in third position.
Ecclestone’s admiration for Piastri’s talents is evident as he remarked, “If I were a team owner, I think I’d get hold of the Australian kid (Piastri).
“He’s very good. But Max is the best I have ever seen.”
Oscar Piastri’s rapid ascent through the ranks of motorsport has been nothing short of exceptional.
He claimed three consecutive championships from 2019 to 2021, winning the Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3, and Formula 2 titles.
His journey to Formula 1 included a contract dispute in mid-2022, ultimately resolved in favour of McLaren by F1’s Contract Recognition Board.
Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher also lauded Piastri’s talents, emphasising the rarity of winning Formula 3 and Formula 2 championships consecutively.
Schumacher noted, “He is a super talent.
“It’s hard enough to even win Formula 3 and Formula 2 championships.
“Oscar won it in his first year.
“This is extremely extraordinary.
“He is now doing the same thing in Formula 1.
“We will hear a lot of positive things from him.”