Ecclestone came close to cancelling Korea

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Korean International Circuit
Korean International Circuit

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he was on the verge of cancelling the Korean Grand Prix last month due to the late-running construction work.

Speaking to The Guardian he said:

It’s done now. It’s all right. Last month I didn’t think it would be finished. And it would have been cancelled then ?ǣ for sure.

But the track has been inspected and passed. Everything’s OK.
Bernie Ecclestone

He voiced some concerns at the time during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Ecclestone also suggested the Turkish Grand Prix may lose its place on the calendar due to the low numbers of spectators that have been attending the race:

Maybe someone will decide they need a rest because it’s not working for them commercially.

A good example is probably Turkey. They’ve built an incredible circuit and it might even be the best ?ǣ but there’s not much enthusiasm from the public. I don’t know why.
Bernie Ecclestone

2010 Korean Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Ecclestone came close to cancelling Korea”

  1. It’s done now. It’s all right. Last month I didn’t think it would be finished. And it would have been cancelled then – for sure.

    But the track has been inspected and passed. Everything’s OK.

    We knew he was very close to it in Singapore. That’s what he told EJ… Still, I reckon they may become the Asian Magny-Cours.

    A good example is probably Turkey. They’ve built an incredible circuit and it might even be the best – but there’s not much enthusiasm from the public. I don’t know why.

    I actually agree with Bernie on this – it’s a great circuit. But the original promoters were rubbish. Who’s promoting it now, Bernie or someone else?

    1. Shouldn’t Bernie be pushing the promoters anyway?
      Mind you, since he can go anywhere in the world and convince them they need an F1 circuit (apart from Africa apparently), what does he care whether a particular venue is pulling in the fans or not?

      1. Korea just started promoting the race (albeit half-heartedly) about a month ago.
        I live here, and I can tell you that the promoters didn’t do their job, which added to all of the speculation that it wasn’t going to happen. This dampened the atmosphere about the whole race.
        I can’t wait to see how low the attendance is.
        I’m going to record it on my VCR and go camping instead of fighting possible chaos.

        1. Bernie’s money comes from the race site organizers, TV revenues and God knows where else. He doesn’t care if the stands are packed…He’s got a contract and they have to pay.

          Think the BBC can say… yes we want Silverstone but we ain’t showing Korea. Not a chance. They have to pay for the whole package.

          I got to agree with ya though… it looks a bit bleak there. If it was North Korea, a country that Bernie really understands, there would be millions of fans showing up waving flags and saying how great it is. (if you get my drift)

          South Korea is obsessed with Boy Bands, TV Soaps, actors, skin whitening cream and general drama of any kind. The one’s that can afford to go are afraid of being in the sun (hence a suntan)and driving they Mercs and BMWs do to a podunk industrial zone. It’s just not done.

          But Bernie is happy all the way to the bank. Why? Because N. Korea can’t afford a GP. It spends all it’s money on missiles that go plop in the sea. South Korea can.

          Who cares what it looks like on TV… Bernie gets paid;)

  2. In summary – we have 19 races this year and with the addition of India, Russia, USA and likely Rome that makes 23. Given the teams have stated 20 is their absolute limit over the next 2-3 years at least 3 races from the current lineup will be cut.

    Im predicting:
    – Turkey
    – Hungary
    – Valencia

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Melbourne when their contract expires and I wouldn’t be suprised to see some european circuits holding a race every other year in order to afford it.

    Lets be honest, some races are going to be cut in the coming years, and unfortunately I cant see it being Bahrain or Sepang.

    1. Turkey may go, Hungary and Valencia will definately not.

      1. Valencia should go for sure, that circuit is good for nothing.

    2. More to this, if the teams etc are going to keep their 3 week holiday in August, and factor in the time between the European and the Fly-Away races, then with a possible 23 races on the cards, which is 2 a month over 12 months without extra breaks, it means that there will have to be more back-to-backs, which must be harder on the teams and the drivers, so some races will have to be dropped, just to fit the racing calendar into a year……..

    3. But don’t forget it’s the FIA and Bernie that set the calendar, the teams at the moment despite talking about it have no say…..

    4. Neither Rome nor Russia are contracted to appear whilst the current Concorde Agreement is in effect, so it’s just 1 circuit unless the teams keep up their opposition to more than 20 races. I suspect they may give in in exchange for a larger share of the revenue.

    5. Sepang should stay..It has history. It is the first world class circuit to be build and have a very good layout.

      1. France also has history in the sport….

  3. If Turkey is shut down then we will loose one of the best track built by Herman Tilke, Bernie do try to cut that track lift it & bring that to Valencia.

    1. It’s unfortunate, Tilke has unfortunately had a monopoly on the new tracks.

      So I think it’s sad that the one he really got right, is the one that could be on the chopping block.

  4. I’m wondering who decided to go to Turkey…what hundreds thousands spectators would you have expected?
    It’s a sin, because it is a great venue.

  5. [quote]there’s not much enthusiasm from the public. I don’t know why.[/quote]

    I know why Bernie…the cost of tickets…

  6. “A good example is probably Turkey. They’ve built an incredible circuit and it might even be the best – but there’s not much enthusiasm from the public. I don’t know why.”

    The self-proclamed genius seems to overlook some obvious answers.

    1) remote location
    2) low interest of the home crowd
    3) cost of a ticket vis-à-vis the average wage of the inhabitants of Turkey

    Bernie is all about marketing and thinks in terms of a free market system. He wants to bring his product (F1) to as large a crowd in as many geographically spread locations as possible, to maximize his benefits.
    He operates by the general idea (although contested by some, but that’s a technical and semantic discussion that would lead to nowhere) of “Say’s law”, i.e. every supply generates its own demand. Both China and Turkey have proven this to be a fundamentally flawed logic.

    1. So this makes Korea go for instant success, in the list of tracks not making the commercial side fit, as it probaly fits those three things very well too.

      1. Korea fits those three things perfectly… sigh.

    2. Ditto for Korea @ xtophe… thing is promotion, promotion promotion. You have to make the public think that is they miss the GP they are lower than a snake in a wagon’s rut. Make them think they are anti-Korean if they don’t attend.

      It has to be the place to be on that given day. It doesn’t matter if they are race fans or not… You have appeal to their egos and and sense of self worth. It’s got to have that “me!” buzz. “I am going!”buzz> “I was there!” buzz, “I’m somebody” buzz.

      Hey, if the rest of you don’t like the Korean GP… well then your losers ;) Get with it… it’s going to be great!

      1. God help my proof reading skills and typos… lol!

  7. I think the thing people must remember is Bernie is basically working for CVC, the majority holder of F1 commercial rights. Albeit he does make a healthy cut himself he is acting in the best interests of CVC, which unfortunately is profit maximisation.

    1. Remember Bernie came to power back in the 70’s by being elected to be president of FOCA on the basis of promising to get Teams lots more money than they had ever dreamed of. He delivered big time. Since then everything he has done has given the teams more money, it’s always gone up, never down. OK the teams sometimes bitch about Bernie’s massive cut (particularly the newer teams) but he’s been 100% consistent at increasing revenue for the teams, and if he became very rich in the process, well….. so have most team owners…..

  8. It’s a big shame. Turkey’s circuit is epic. It’s not like F1 is going to go bust if they don’t get as many people at that particular circuit. But I suppose if he’ll make more money elsewhere, then he’ll go through with it =(

  9. Korean race in touch and go shock! Turkey in Disapointing turnout revalation!

    It is a shame about Turkey though, be sad to see that track go, it’s got so much going for it.

  10. Basically, this just confirms what everyone had feared. I can imagine Bernie would have had some restless nights leading up to the inspection. Imagine the PR disaster it would have been for elitist F1 if a race had to be cancelled…

  11. I like Sepang, it is pretty good for races, and has the risk of rain (although admittedly 2009 had too much rain).

    Bahrain is good too when raced on the original layout.

    Hungary seems dire but the drivers like it, however I can see it being axed.

    I think it’s silly scrapping what is seen by some as the beat track (turkey). :S doesn’t make sense when F1 should be racing at the best, not just the newest.

  12. What I would really like is for Bernie to write a book about staying fit and sharp into an advanced age. I am truly impressed by him. Seriously !
    It must be a positive attitude, interesting job, eating little but good food, handling things without stress, possibly the enjoyment of good female company , whatever.
    Probably a combination of all of the above.

    Tell us Bernie !

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