Ecclestone says Brazilian and German GPs under threat for 2017

The Brazilian and German Grands Prix remain in doubt for next year and could both be dropped from the definitive 2017 calendar, Bernie Ecclestone has told Motorsport.com.

Both races, along with the Canadian GP, were listed as “subject to confirmation” when the schedule was issued after the last World Motor Sport Council meeting in September.

“I think we’re sorting out Canada, which has been a bit of a pain,” said Ecclestone.

However, he then conceded that Brazil and Germany are “absolutely” still at risk of being dropped from what could potentially become a 19-race 2017 schedule.

Next year's calendar will be finalised at the WMSC meeting in Vienna at the end of this month.

Asked if he would bet on Brazil happening in 2017, Ecclestone said: “I wouldn’t put my money on it, I might put yours.”

On Wednesday, Ecclestone visited Brasilia to meet President Michel Temer, who had taken office at the end of August.

Although the F1 supremo conceded that he wanted to gauge support for the Grand Prix, he denied that he specifically asked for central government funding. “I didn’t ask him. I just wanted to meet him and see how he felt, about things in general.

"Did he think that F1 was good for Brazil, or not? It’s probably been good for Sao Paulo. Whether it’s been good for the rest of Brazil, who knows? I’ve no idea what he can do as the president. This country is very political at the moment. He’s just stepped in.

“They spent a lot of money to have the Olympics and the World Cup, and here [Sao Paulo] hurts a little bit, the promoter trying to run this race, and make a profit, or not make a profit, but not lose. So in the end the people who lose are us, because they can’t pay us.”

Although the Interlagos paddock facilities have been upgraded this year, Ecclestone indicated that he was still not happy: “It should have been built four years ago – our contract with them was it should have been built then.”

Ecclestone also made it clear that the German GP, which returned to the calendar this year after being absent in 2015, is even more shaky than Brazil.

“Germany? I don’t know how we could ever save that race. It’s commercial. What is incredible is that we’ve had all the German world champions, they [Mercedes] have won the constructors’ championship, and will win the drivers’ championship for sure, and there’s no interest in Germany.

“There’s nobody at the Nurburgring – the current owners, when they bought, they had no idea what was going on. When they found out, they didn’t like what they heard. I met them, they’re Russian people. So that went.

"And then Hockenheim’s always been the same, it’s never really been supported, when it should have been.”

Ecclestone said that Hockenheim was open to a 2017 deal, but not at the price he wanted.

“They’re saying, or I think they’re saying, ‘we’d be prepared to continue with the same terms and conditions that we’ve had for the last two or three years'. Which are no good for us. We tried to keep them alive, but they’ve run out of tablets.

"I’ll put my money on it not happening. I’ll have to talk to them in the next couple of weeks.”

Asked if the next WMSC meeting was in effect the final deadline for Germany and Brazil, Ecclestone said: “Yes, absolutely.”

He suggested also that he would be able to find alternative races for 2018.

“There are [events] we can resurrect, and people who’ve been talking about it and we haven’t been able to do anything. Probably not for next year, but the year after, for sure.”

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Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news
Tags ecclestone