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F1 boss unhappy about Vettel's dominance

The Associated Press
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

LONDON – Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Sebastian Vettel's dominance may be harming the sport and wants the title to be decided when Brazil hosts the final race.

Vettel became the youngest F1 champion in the last grand prix of the 2010 season. The German Red Bull driver successfully defended his title with three races to spare in October, and Ecclestone is concerned about waning interest late in the season.

"We always say this, but I hope the last race is going to be the one where the championship is won," Ecclestone said Thursday. "We don't want what happened last year, which was not too good ... The only person that would say no to that would be Sebastian, but I think everybody else would agree with it.

"But it wasn't good. I am surprised we survived with (the TV ratings) we got right at the end. I often wonder whether people watch because of the championship or watch because of the particular race."

Last season, the 24-year-old Vettel finished 122 points ahead of second-place Jenson Button of McLaren, the 2009 champion.

Lewis Hamilton finished fifth last year after winning the title in 2008.

"I think if he doesn't perform this year, he'll be looking maybe to move on (from McLaren), and the team may also be looking for him to move on," Ecclestone said of the Briton.

But Ecclestone believes the 27-year-old Hamilton is "a bit more focused" going into the season opener at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18.

Ecclestone insisted there has been a positive reaction at the prospect of returning to Bahrain despite last season's race being called off because of political unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

"Nobody is saying we're not going or we don't want to go or anything — everybody is quite positive," Ecclestone said. "I've told all the teams there's no problem at all. I'm absolutely 100 percent sure we'll go there and there will be no problem."

Ecclestone expects authorities to take extra precautions when it comes to security for the race on April 22.

The island became the first country in the Middle East to be awarded a grand prix in 2004.

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