Feb.29 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The premier Australian motor racing series is threatening to quit the country’s annual grand prix weekend.
V8 Supercars, the popular touring car series, has a contract to race in support of the formula one main-event in Melbourne until 2018.
But currently, Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management (FOM) reportedly does not allow the V8 Supercars support-race to count towards its own championship.
“Obviously we’ll fulfil our contract but beyond that I can’t see us racing there unless it’s a championship round,” V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton told Fairfax Media.
V8 Supercars is highly popular in Australia, and so local F1 race organisers the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) are lobbying hard to fix the problem.
“Once again, contractual complexities got in the way, so we weren’t able to achieve it for this year, but we’re continually open and optimistic for the future,” said AGPC chief Andrew Westacott.
Fairfax claims money is also an issue, with V8 Supercars’ current F1 contract worth $1.7 per year — $1 million less than an earlier agreement.
It is just the latest criticism aimed towards F1 supremo Ecclestone’s FOM in recent days, following the ‘musical chairs’ qualifying farce and Romain Grosjean revealing he was asked by FOM to take videos down from his social media accounts.
V8 Supercars says it is under pressure from new race hosts who want to have championship rounds of the championship.
“It’s a big expense any time our teams go to a circuit and we can have much more profitable weekends elsewhere, especially a new event,” Warburton said.