Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that the sport will ride out the current global financial crisis, pointing to recent partnership deals as proof that it is still a marketing medium of choice.
Speaking to the media on a recent Christmas/New Year trip to Belgrade, F1's commercial guru admitted that, while those involved in the sport may be feeling the pinch, there are others queuing up to use it as a means of getting their message across to a global audience.
The sudden exit of Honda from F1, combined with the effects of sponsors reining in their investments, has caused the remaining teams to agree on drastic cost-cutting measures, but Ecclestone remains optimistic that the sport will emerge on the other side of the downturn.
"It's clear that the world financial crisis affects all aspects at the industry, including car industry, but it won't affect Formula One seriously," Ecclestone claimed, "It's simple - the big guns which want their ad in front of the whole world understand that Formula One is the cheapest way to achieve it.
"We recently signed two huge deals, one with the manufacturer of LG electronic equipment and one with DHL, and, as far as I know, all the tickets are sold for almost every race next season."
The 78-year old was reportedly in Serbia to meet with his doctor, but was spotted with allegedly estranged wife Slavica, suggesting that their rumoured impending divorce may have been avoided. The couple apparently shared a suite at the Zlatnik hotel in Zemun and met Serbian PM Vojislav Kostunica, sparking suggestions that Ecclestone may be investigating the possibility of a grand prix on the streets of Belgrade.