Bernie Ecclestone has responded to criticism levelled at him in the press over the costs involved in staging the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Media reports had claimed that the state of Victoria was paying a fee of $30 million a year to host the event, with an ongoing row about whether or not the race represents value for money for the local area.

Local government officials have refused to be drawn on the figures mentioned but are said to be concerned that the reports could make discussions with Ecclestone more difficult moving forwards.

Ecclestone however refused to be drawn on the amount paid to host the event in an interview with radio station 3AW, pointing out that the agreements in place were subject to clauses that would prevent him from opening talking about money.

"Have you spoken to whoever pays to see if the figure is correct?" he said. "The newspaper might have said 100, it might have said 10 - people should ask what they actually pay.

"I'm not telling you anything, as you started part of the conversation mentioning a confidentiality agreement. I don't discuss our contracts with anyone - I discuss it with lawyers and the people we are doing business with. I don't discuss it."

Pushed on whether there was a future for the race, Ecclestone insisted that the ball was very much in the court of the promoter.

"It's up to them isn't it? It's up to the people who are responsible," he said. "I can't make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will.

"[However] they shouldn't complain after they sign. The same person I have dealt with for years, Mr Walker, should know what he is doing."|


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