F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "agreed to change the contract" with operators of the financially struggling Korean F1 Grand Prix, according to Robert Seiwert of MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN. A weak infrastructure and empty grand stands "do not fit the glamorous F1 flair." Over and over again the Korean race, which made its F1 debut in '10, has been on the brink of being dropped from the F1 calendar due to financial difficulties. Grand Prix of Korea Promoter Park Won-hwa said, "I showed Mr. Ecclestone all our data. It took a while, but in the end he agreed to a changed contract." Park added: "We had to renegotiate, and I convinced him that Korea can't continue to organize the race with such a big financial loss. The event has to be sustainable for both parties." Despite the lack of interest of South Koreans, Park said that "it would be a strategical mistake to withdraw from this part of the world." Korea's contract with F1 runs until '16 (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 10/12).
Events and Attractions
The Asian Tour "promised to safeguard" the long-term health of the troubled Hong Kong Open after the European Tour sacrificed the "iconic" tournament and removed it from the climactic end-of-season spotlight, according to Noel Prentice of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. After struggling to find a sponsor and having to rely on a government handout to secure the return of world No. 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy, the Hong Kong Open has been replaced by the new $7M Turkish Open as the penultimate event on the European Tour's Race To Dubai. But the Asian Tour, which co-sanctions the event with the European Tour along with the Hong Kong Golf Association, which owns the Open, said that it would "not allow the tournament to lose any more lustre." Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr said, "We will talk to all the partners and make sure we ensure the long-term health of the Hong Kong Open. The worst thing would be to go from year to year with no clear understanding as to where we are going" (SCMP, 10/14).