Sep.19 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Bahrain paid its race sanctioning fee for 2011 despite not hosting a grand prix this year.
Amid the island Kingdom’s troubles earlier this year, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he would not charge the government the reportedly more than $40 million fee.
“The fee that is normally being paid for the event is not being paid,” the F1 chief executive said at the time. “I am not charging them for a race they are not getting.”
But according to The Independent, Ecclestone said the fact Bahrain ultimately paid the 2011 fee means that the sport’s revenue and profit will not reverse this year.
“I don’t think turnover will be down this year. I think it will be flat because we were paid for Bahrain. I said we will give them the money back and they said don’t bother,” said the 80-year-old.
Bahrain is scheduled to return to the F1 calendar next late April.
“I spoke to the Bahrainis yesterday and they said everything is going to be fine. I hope they are right for their sake, not ours,” said Ecclestone.
If Bahrain does not come back, the diminutive Briton already has plans for F1’s likely next destinations.
“After Russia I would like to go to South Africa and Mexico. Both countries are trying to do something,” said Ecclestone. “Greece are also trying to do a formula one race.”
On Greece’s economic problems, he quipped: “The Germans will lend them some money”.