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Ecclestone signals demise of F1 in Europe

NEWS STORY
27/03/2015

Warning that Germany may not reappear on the calendar in 2016, Bernie Ecclestone admits the future looks bleak for the sport in Europe.

Long before the global financial crisis or the euro meltdown, Bernie Ecclestone was predicting that Europe was destined to become the new third world.

As the various crises took their toll however, Ecclestone, never one to be caught on the hop, looked further afield, realising what was then the third world was to rise and become the new global powerhouse.

As governments in the east, now rich with cash, fell over themselves to get on board the F1 dream machine, their counterparts in Europe were unable to justify spending money on luxuries such as sport, certainly a sport as elitist and greedy as Formula One.

Circuit owners in Europe, unable to meet the increasing demands of FOM's contracts, and unable to call on government support, cried off and one-by-one the countries that make up the sport's heartland fell by the wayside.

Today, days after it was confirmed that Germany will not host a race this year, the first time since 1960 that it has been missing from the calendar, Ecclestone warned that the race may not be in a position to return to the calendar next year and that other events in Europe may follow.

When it was pointed out that Hockenheim has a contract for next year's race, he told reporters: "That doesn't make a difference. A lot of people have a contract."

Asked about the future of the sport in Europe, where all the teams are based and a majority of the drivers originate from, he replied, according to Reuters: Whatever goes, goes. There are lots of things we all would like, but we don't have them because we can't afford them."

"The trouble in Germany was the Nurburgring spent an awful lot of money which they borrowed," he added, referring to the circuit which he unsuccessfully tried to buy last year and which was originally meant to host this year's race. "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."

Ahead of a press conference at Monza next week, at which the owner ACI will present its strategy for the future of the legendary circuit, Ecclestone warned that the venue could also be lost if it fails to agree a new contract.

When this was suggested to Ecclestone, he replied: "If Monza goes, it goes."

Whilst most will be keen to put the blame entirely on Ecclestone's shoulders, let's not forget that he works in the interests of majority owner CVC, and let's not forget also the fact that the teams rely on the F1 supremo to do the best deals in order to increase their share of the pie.

Conceding that it would be "terrible" if Europe did lose its races, Ecclestone added; "the teams get 62 per cent of whatever profit the company makes, so if we make less money, the teams make less money."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Darvi, 28/03/2015 7:57

"I read yesterday that the Premier League in the UK is giving over 1bn of its revenues to help grass roots clubs and to promote the sport..... quite a different attitude to Mr Moneybags. If he were to focus on where the TV audiences lie then maybe he'd be more awake to the fact that the loyal supporters of F1 don't give a toss about races held in the middle of the night in a desert.

The FIA needs to change their relationship with FOM."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 27/03/2015 23:30

"The usual arrogant twaddle from Bernito

If F1 "quits" Europe, then goodbye & good riddance.
Bernie may be responsible to CVC to maximise returns, but he won't be doing that if his short-term pursuit of profit kills the goose which has laid all those golden eggs.

The teams may get 62% of "the profits"[of F1] but have to ante up 100% of the costs of running the teams, while the Circuits not only finance the races, but have to pay CVC's ever-increasing fees. These "profits" are what remains after CVC, Bernie et al have extracted their substantial salaries, bonuses, management fees, etc.etc.

What, apart from negotiating with a coterie of ever more unpleasant despots to secure races, do CVC & Bernie do for their 38% of the profits?
"

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3. Posted by Alyssa, 27/03/2015 21:42

"That's okay, keep it up. This girl is getting sick and tired of all the politics, infighting and boring races. MotoGP is more exciting, WEC has way more manufacturers (just like BlancPain) and the one thing they all have in common is no Bernie. I've been following the sport for a long time, but force myself to watch last year's races, and this year is no exception. Used to wake up with anticipation for qualifying (live in North America) but don't care any more. Never mind the fact that you continue to keep the sport in the dark ages by not embracing social media, or a decent pay site like MotoGP has that's full of options too. Sad to see F1 slipping out of its roots and rich racing history, but glad there are other series to capture and retain my excitement for motorsports. "

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4. Posted by GrahamG, 27/03/2015 21:18

"Maybe F1 has to endure a crisis - complete elimination of Europe followed by a transfer to pay TV and complete collapse of viewers before something new can emerge. A European based series, some sensible regulations and a broader base. Let "F1" continue to run races in strange places, but with one man and sometimes his dog watching sponsors will soon migrate and the teams will follow.
Why not a companion series to WEC with the same power plants bur shorter open wheel races. Much of the structure is already there, marginal cost could be quite low."

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5. Posted by Ro, 27/03/2015 20:51

"Then Mr Ecclestone, stop robbing all the circuits. Dont be such a greedy little man !"

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6. Posted by lastefan, 27/03/2015 19:45

"Make no misstake. If they drop European races from the calander I will drop Formula 1, cause it's not Formula 1 anymore. They shouldn't forget their heritage.

All dynasties have fallen through-out history. F1 is not immune.

WEC might be a god replacement.
"

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7. Posted by Hondawho?, 27/03/2015 18:40

"Interesting comments. Why did he want to buy Nurburgring?

If there is no F1 in Europe then it's up to the circuit owners who there , assuming they can get themselves together to offer a similar series.

Always a way to overcome a problem!"

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8. Posted by The stogie, 27/03/2015 18:30

"Bernie just wants the 'oil money' and he will keep going to venues where only men in dresses and some camels get to see the races. Sad. To Bernie it's all about the money, NOT about the tradition and what got him to where he is today."

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9. Posted by F One, 27/03/2015 18:28

"When will we be rid of this evil money grabbing little troll?!?"

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