Legal Rights

Ecclestone: F1 is too expensive – and too democratic (The Independent)

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone says the sport is too expensive and claims that it has many other problems that need to be resolved.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport, he complained that F1 was “too democratic” and continued his campaign against its turbo-hybrid engines.

“We have got past sticking plasters and we need an operation,” Ecclestone said. “We need really seriously to address costs because there are a lot of teams having difficulty trying to keep up.”

Ecclestone renewed his calls for 1000 bhp V8 engines to revive the troubled sport, while Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, whose cars dominated the new era of turbo-hybrid 1.6-litre V6 engines last year and are leading again this season, said that all of the current manufacturers were committed to retaining the existing powertrains.

Ecclestone also suggested again that the famed Italian Grand Prix, one of the oldest and most popular races on the calendar, might go the same way as the German GP and be dropped because the organisers cannot afford the costs.

“We will have to wait and see. They don’t have an agreement, a bit like Germany, same sort of thing.”

But he did confirm that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will make its debut next season, despite concerns over the country’s human rights record. A report this year by Human Rights Watch said that there had been a deterioration in the former Soviet Republic state’s record, with more than 30 human rights defenders, including political activists and journalists, convicted or imprisoned.

Asked if the human rights situation in Azerbaijan had been checked out with a view to hosting next year’s race, Ecclestone insisted: “We have” before adding: “I think everybody seems to be happy. There doesn’t seem to be any big problem there.”