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Ecclestone calls for lower fees for F1 race promoters

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Ecclestone calls for lower fees for F1 race promoters
By:
Apr 14, 2017, 5:07 PM

Bernie Ecclestone says that new F1 owners Liberty should cut the fees that promoters pay to host races, amid fears that events will be lost because governments no longer want to subsidise them.

Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman Emiritus of Formula 1
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H at the start
Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman Emiritus of Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads at the start of the race
Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman Emiritus of Formula 1
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09 leads team mate Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman Emiritus of Formula 1
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received CEO of Formula 1 Chase Carey at the Presidential Complex
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The former F1 Group CEO, who set up all the current deals himself over the years, now believes that promoters are paying too much to host races, and that the costs could prove to be unsustainable for some events.

"The only thing that would be good for everyone, I think, would be if we could charge the promoters a lot less money," Ecclestone told Motorsport.com.

"I did some good deals commercially. They are paying a lot of money, and most of them if not all of them are not making any money, quite the opposite.

"Sooner or later I'm frightened that the governments behind them will say enough is enough, and bye bye.

"If we could reduce the fee they pay they could then charge less for tickets and sell more tickets. So if you want to look after the fans, that's the way to do it."

Asked why he didn't cut rates in the past, he said: "I know I could have done, but I was trying to make money for the company, that was my job.

"It appears that it's not [Liberty's] prime objective, to make money. Their objective is to please the fans, which is good."

Ecclestone's fear about governments pulling out is backed up by the recent news that this year's Malaysian GP will be the last, as well as ongoing doubts about the future of Singapore.

Ecclestone was involved in the agreement to end the Sepang deal a year early.

"Malaysia has gone. A lot of these things are left over from what I was doing, when I was doing the day job. We really didn't have a lot of choice. They were going to stop.

"I think I've convinced Singapore to stay. We've changed the conditions and terms a little bit there. They haven't decided yet, but they may still not continue."

Interlagos under threat

Ecclestone has also been involved in discussions to save the Brazilian GP, a race he has always had a soft spot for, and which is threatened by doubts over the future of Interlagos.

"Unless somebody buys that place, it's not going to happen. The city wants to sell. I've got them to agree that whoever buys, in the tender there must be a clause that they must keep the race track.

"So at least we've managed to achieve that. So we've got to get somebody that's going to buy that place and somebody that's going to run a race there.

"They thought they had some people from this part of the world [the Middle East], but I contacted them and they haven't got any money at the moment."

Ecclestone says he'd be happy to see Liberty revive the Turkish GP, after Chase Carey met with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week.

The event dropped off the calendar for financial reasons after 2011.

"We didn't make it work for one very good reason, they wouldn't pay. I already had a deal with the guy who used to be prime minister, who is now the president. They paid a flat fee, and we were going to make all the money from the gate.

"I'd be very happy if they could make it work because I like the circuit, I like the race there, it was a bloody good race. I'd be happy if it does work. It will work if they're prepared to race for less money."

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper