SBD/November 30, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Ecclestone Indicates That Europe Will Play Lesser Role As F1's Future Race Sites

Ecclestone thinks in the next few years Europe will be left with only five races
F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone indicated that Europe’s time as “the dominant force in motor racing is over and the sport’s traditional heartland will be reduced to as few as five races a year” on the F1 circuit, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Ecclestone said, “I think in the next few years Europe will be left with only five races. Europe is finished. It will be a good place for tourism but little else. Europe is a thing of the past.” Ecclestone’s “drive for cash” on behalf of F1 parent company CVC Capital Partners “may be good for the private equity group’s finances, but millions of fans across Europe will be devastated if the television set is as near as they can get to the sport.” Ecclestone did not name the tracks that would be lost, but his “sights will be swinging towards Spain and Germany, as well as Belgium.” Ecclestone “does know where the sport will be heading in [the] future, though, and, apart from a United States Grand Prix in New Jersey in 2013 and inquiries from South Africa and Mexico, it is almost exclusively to regimes in the East, willing and able to pay hosting fees" of more than US$39M a year. Asked whether Europe was still the traditional home of F1, Ecclestone said: “It used to be.” Eason notes only Monaco, the “jewel in Formula One’s crown, is above the troubles in Europe” (THETIMES.co.uk, 11/29).
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