Bernie Ecclestone 'hoping upon hope' for Ferrari challenge

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F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is "hoping upon hope" Ferrari puts up a legitimate championship challenge against Mercedes this season.

Mercedes has dominated F1 since the introduction of the V6 turbos in 2014, winning 32 of the 38 races and claiming back-to-back drivers' and constructors' championships. Ferrari won three races in a resurgent campaign last season and came into the 2016 hoping to live up to the lofty expectations set by company chairman Sergio Marchionne.

Winter testing suggested Ferrari has cut the gap to the front and Ecclestone hopes those positive early signs materialise into a two-team fight this season.

"The bottom line is a simple one," Ecclestone told the Australian Grand Prix podcast. "I'm hoping upon hope that Ferrari get back to where Ferrari should be, which would be challenging for the world championship, and the same with Red Bull.

"It depends an awful lot on how Ferrari perform. If they don't show they can win the championship, unfortunately -- or fortunately depending on where you are -- we're going to have a Mercedes dominating again."

Ecclestone thinks Nico Rosberg's resurgent form last year, which saw him win the last three races after Lewis Hamilton had secured the championship, could raise the excitement levels if it continues into 2016.

"Having said that, maybe Nico, after three wins last year, he's going to be in form. Maybe he has suddenly got a bit more confidence in himself, so let's see. If those two [Hamilton and Rosberg] are challenging each other, it will be good."