SBD/February 23, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 Management Will Pick Up $40M Cost Of Cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix

Ecclestone (r) and FOM to lose millions from Bahrain's cancelled event
Formula One Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone said that FOM “will absorb the $40 million cost of the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix,” according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. Ecclestone: “The fee that is normally being paid for the event is not being paid. I am not charging them for a race they are not getting. Whether they are covered by their insurers for loss of revenues, tickets sales etc I am not sure.” Ecclestone said FOM was “not insured for this sort of thing." He added that it would be receiving “no money from Bahrain unless it can find a slot for the race later in the calendar.” Ecclestone: “If and when it is rescheduled they will pay their usual fee.” Ecclestone confirmed the reported $40M figure was “close” to the mark. Cary notes F1 revenues are “divided up at the end of the year between the various stakeholders and the teams, meaning that unless a new date is found, presumably everyone will miss out” (London TELEGRAPH, 2/23). In London, Kevin Eason notes FOM and teams “stand to lose millions” from the postponement of the Bahrain Grand Prix, and losing the race would “put a substantial dent in Formula One’s takings.” Ecclestone: “Nobody gains from this. I want to be loyal to the King (of Bahrain), because he is doing everything he can to put things right with his people. He doesn’t need people like me stabbing him in the back. Right from the start, we talked about the problem there, and he was straight with me” (LONDON TIMES, 2/23).

TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES? In Toronto, Norris McDonald wrote the “chickens are starting to come home to roost” for Ecclestone. He “started doing business with a number of countries where, to put it mildly, the democratic rights of the citizens who live there are not anywhere near the top of the ruling classes’ list of priorities.” The ’11 F1 Grand Prix schedule includes races in Bahrain, Malaysia, China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, and Ecclestone “is the genius who took what essentially was a European open wheels series and turned it into a true, international, world championship.” But instead of letting F1 “grow naturally and on its own, he upped the ante so much that his short-sightedness is threatening not necessarily to destroy it but to severely hobble it” (THESTAR.com, 2/22).
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