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JUNE 22, 2006

Ecclestone sends a message to Tony George

Bernie Ecclestone has used his favourite leaking location - The Times in London - to send a message to Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George about their negotiations for the future United States Grand Prix. George wants to get a better price on his Grand Prix, not least because of the mess that occurred at Indianapolis a year ago. But Ecclestone wants him to understand that this is not going to happen.

"It does not matter to Formula 1 if there is no Grand Prix in the US," he said. "What do we get from America? Aggravation, that's about all. If you say ïGood Morning' over there and it's five past 12, you end up with a lawsuit. We have never got any sponsors out there. The television has never taken off; we have more viewers in Malta than over there. If they want to continue having a round of the Formula 1 World Championship over there, I am happy to talk to them, which is what I will do when I get there. But I am not prepared to subsidise a race in America."

The comments are not strictly true as the teams have been doing very nicely in recent years from big American corporations who have started to understand the international value of the sport and the car manufacturers are keen to use the racing to sell cars in the United States. No doubt, his partners in Formula One, CVC is also rather keen on cracking the American market as it remains the world's largest consumer market.

There is probably also an element of Ecclestone trying to stir up controversy to draw attention to the race, something he did last year by referring to Danica Patrick as "a domestic appliance". Getting F1 in the newspapers in the United States seems to be all about doing and saying outrageous things in an effort to get some space.

Thus Bernie's remarks should be seen as a one stone killing several birds.
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