//
Site logo

Bernie, A1 GP and GP3

NEWS STORY
30/04/2007

Regular F1 fans aren't the only ones feeling themselves at a loose end on Sundays, courtesy of the four-week gap between the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

With Chelsea not playing on Sunday, all the washing up and housework done, and precious little on the box, Bernie headed off to watch the finale of the second season of A1 GP at Brands Hatch.

Although he has said little about the series, Ecclestone is known to have been taking a keen interest in it. After all, though it has drawn derision from F1 purists for the 'Batman' look of its cars, the lack of recognisable racing 'personalities' driving the cars and the swathes of empty grandstands, there is no arguing that A1 GP has taken motorsport into new markets and proved that not only is there racing talent out there, but fans eager to watch.

In many of these countries - nations already on Bernie's 'to do' list - A1 GP has done the groundwork, and even though motorsport might be in its infancy in these countries, A1 GP has proven that there is a potential market.

Pitpass knows that Bernie has flirted with the A1 GP management for some time, therefore it doesn't come as any surprise that he should pop up in Kent at the weekend, ground tremor or no ground tremor.

Whilst attending yesterday's event, Ecclestone took the opportunity to meet with Tony Teixeira, who now runs A1 GP following the departure of series founder Sheikh Maktoum. Regular readers will remember that Teixeira was Ecclestone's guest at Monaco last year, even getting a grid walk... but spared the embarrassment of being mistaken for a Banana republic minister by Martin Brundle.

The Kent meeting has led to speculation that Bernie might buy into the A1 GP concept or simply go all-out to kill it off, having recently admitted that he is looking at the idea of a Winter series aimed at the developing markets in Asia.

"There's a formula called GP2," he said earlier this month, "which is a step down from F1, and which people generally graduate from. I want to make sure we bring that series to Asia in the winter, so hopefully we get to find a few drivers through the exposure."

Mindful that a winter series in Asia would be seriously damaging to his series, Teixeira told the Daily Express: "If it came up against us, that would be unfortunate for everyone.

"Why not cater for 35 countries between us?" he suggests.

Rather than go on the back foot, the burly South African is adamant that his series can see off any challenge, even if it is from the man who changed F1 from a sport into an empire.

"We will be around for a long time," says Teixeira. "We made mistakes in our first year - wrong places, some poor teams, bad promotion - but this season has seen some great crowds to see outstanding racing in places such as Holland, New Zealand, Indonesia and South Africa.

"Sure, some circuits are too big for us like Shanghai and Sepang in Malaysia but we now have about 20 countries queuing for us to come to them. Five want streets races, three are willing to build circuits.

"Japan, Russia and Portugal want to have teams," he adds, either being misquoted or having forgotten that Portugal is already back on board while Japan withdrew after just a couple of races of the first season. Russia too had a team, but it also fell by the wayside.

"We're not struggling," he insists. "We have great TV contracts and we have yet to tap into revenue streams like betting and merchandising. I'm not worried about spending money. I'm in oil and diamond mining. You sink a well, explore, prove the reserves and it will be four to seven years before you start getting something back. That's how it is. This is no different."

Ecclestone has other views.

"There is a future for a series which brings in drivers who can step up to F1, that's my business," says the Englishman. "I'm not sure A1 does that. Maybe there is room for a GP3 series which would also provide another road to F1.

"I hope things go well for Tony," he adds. "An awful lot will depend if we get another series running in Asia. Then it would be difficult for them."

Well, much as we hate to rain on Teixeira's parade, but not only does GP3 exist, it already has its own logo.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2020. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms