31 March 2015
Ecclestone on European races: Whatever goes, goes
Bernie Ecclestone suggests he is prepared to let more than just Germany slip off the F1 calendar if he has to, saying 'if Monza goes, it goes'.
Bernie Ecclestone says there is no guarantee the German Grand Prix will make its way back onto the Formula 1 calendar in 2016, while he intimates he is also willing to let Monza fall by the wayside if necessary.
The Nurburgring was originally scheduled to host the 2015 German Grand Prix race as a continuation of its event-rotation with Hockenheim, but financial difficulties would force it to withdraw.
Though attention turned to Hockenheim to step in for 2015, circuit owners couldn't reach an agreement with FOM after it felt it hadn't been given enough time to promote and sell tickets to a race that saw dwindling spectator figures last year.
However, while Hockenheim still has a pre-existing contract to host a race in 2016 and 2018, Ecclestone says that is no guarantee that Germany will return to the calendar at all.
"No,” he told Press Association when asked if he could confirm its return. "It doesn't make a difference [If it has a contract]. A lot of people have a contract."
"The trouble in Germany was the Nurburgring spent an awful lot of money which they borrowed. They didn't need to spend what they spent, and therefore didn't need to borrow the amount they borrowed. They forgot to pay it back, and that caused a few ripples. It sent a bad message."
Another European race to fall by the wayside, following France and the second Spanish race in Valencia, despite Germany's exit and ongoing concerns that Monza may also slip from the schedule after its current contract expires in 2016, Ecclestone remains unmoved by the prospect of losing another iconic event, saying 'if Monza goes, it goes - whatever goes, goes'.
Challenged on whether event hosting fees are too high, which in turn force organisers to increase ticket prices, Ecclestone admits there is arguably truth in that accusation, but apportions some of the blame to the teams.
"Probably right [about over-charging], but the teams get 62 per cent of whatever profit the company (CVC) makes, so if we make less money, the teams make less money."
With Germany off the calendar, Europe will host just 8 of the 19 F1 rounds in 2015 – Spain, Monaco, Great Britain, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Russia. With Mexico rejoinig the schedule in 2015, a second US race and a new event in Azerbaijan is poised to be added in 2016, the latter adopting the 'Grand Prix of Europe' moniker.
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