Bernie Ecclestone (Formula One boss) was recently interviewed ahead of the Russian Grand Prix which returned to Sochi for the second time in October 2015.
When quizzed about Formula One races being hosted by “non-classic” venues with no history of followership or motorsport heritage such as Russia and Azerbaijan, Singapore and Bahrain, Ecclestone replied that Formula One is a championship more or less based in Europe – so it could hardly be a World Championship and he always wanted to take the sport to these (new) countries.
On the traditional venues, Ecclestone said: “I think Europe is a thing of the past anyway. I think it would be a nice for people from China and even here, to visit, and look how the old times were, you know. It’s not going anywhere.”
These sentiments can be clearly felt at tracks with good attendance and passionate fans such as Silverstone (which recently delayed payment of its £16million hosting fee due to financial strife) and the uncertainty surrounding the Italian Grand Prix’s survival, also due to financial difficulty borne from hosting fees.
Ben Willshire (Driven International) comments: “Many of these new tracks receive Government support to enable them to host Formula 1 races – as it is usually a means to promoting their countries. Silverstone is fortunate that we in the UK have a fantastic F1 following so luckily the British GP is well attended but tracks shouldn’t be in a position that the only way they can host F1 and survive is through Government funding. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in the sport going forward.”
For the full video and transcript of Bernie Ecclestone’s interview, click here