High ho, high ho it’s off to work I go. Like this song that the seven dwarfs sing as they go off to work each day, Bernie Ecclestone has developed the mindset off to the Far East and Middle East Formula 1 goes in order to find new racing circuits to go to work at even though Formula 1’s home and its tracks have been located in Europe for years.
The majority of the teams have their factories in Great Britain. Some of the greatest grands prix is the sport’s history have taken place at Monza and Silverstone. The sport’s lifeblood is its European tracks.
Bernie Ecclestone has taken Formula 1 and its show or traveling circus, as some people call it, to exotic locales in the Far East and Middle East while letting grands prix in traditional places like Germany and France disappear from the calendar because the promoters are unable to pay CVC and Bernie’s high fees.
It now appears that Monza, a place of many great races in Formula 1 history, is on the verge of being eliminated from the calendar because the people in charge are unable to pay Bernie’s high fees and Bernie is unwilling to compromise in order to keep the event alive at Monza with a new contract that would start in 2017.
The governor of the Lombardy region where Monza is located has stated that, as a result of tax free investment, that a deal can be struck with Bernie in early September.
There have also been backup plans brought forward if plans for a new contract with Monza fall through.
Recently, in response to an outcry from the Formula 1 fan base that the Italian GP needs to stay on the calendar, officials from Imola have come forward in an attempt to save the Italian Grand Prix starting in 2017 should a deal with Monza officials not be possible for financial reasons.
Imola could used be an alternative circuit for the Italian GP until Monza would be able to pay the exact same fees as the other venues on the Formula 1 calendar which is something Bernie is demanding in order for Monza to get a new contract for the race.
The Monza track is located in a national park and each year the damage and clean up costs post race are quite high. Could Imola host the Italian GP until Monza gets its finances in order?
Racing at Imola would not be the same as racing at Monza and Imola is the place of some very dark events in Formula 1’s history. It would keep a race in Italy which is important given Ferrari’s history in Formula 1. I do think that should the Italian GP be moved to Imola that it’s important that is goes back to Monza in the future because Monza is a fan favorite.
All of the uncertainty regarding Monza and Hockenheimring bring up the question, is Formula 1 sacrificing the old circuits for the new ones?
Maybe. Formula 1 will hold a race in Azerbaijan in 2016 in an effort to expand the sport’s global reach.
Azerbaijan is an oil-rich former Soviet state and the race will be run on a street circuit. Unlike Monza, this GP has no history or loyal race attendees. This is Bernie and CVC taking the Formula 1 to the highest bidder.
Formula 1 has turned into a prostitute and CVC and Bernie are the sport’s pimps.
It remains to be seen how this new race will be viewed and how well it will do financially long term. Could it be only one or two before the novelty of event wears off and it starts experiencing attendance and financial issues like some of the other dates on the calendar?
Do you notice a pattern? The new places that Bernie has taken the sport for grand prix weekends have been predominantly oil-rich countries that can pay CVC and his high fees.
In taking the races there and chasing the money, is he turning up his nose and turning his back on the sports established fan base and historic tracks?
Can these new races in the exotic locales help develop and grow Formula 1’s global popularity and survive financially long term or will these races be in existence a short time and then disappear for the calendar? It’s a possibility and I think that it would have unintended effects on the sport.
One thing that may not be considered when taking Formula 1 to these exotic locales in an attempt to pimp the sport to the highest bidder is the possibility of a terrorist attack during a grand prix weekend. Think about it.
There are large crowds of people during a grand prix weekend and many of the spectators are very influential and very rich. It’s a way for a person or group to get world wide notoriety, cause harm and damage on a large scale, and make whatever statement that they want to with maximum effect.
Bernie says the grand prix weekends are safe in these exotic locales but can he or CVC guarantee it? Some of these places have very eventful pasts.
Is it better for the Commercial Rights Holder to find ways to work with the historic race tracks of Europe so that they don’t keep disappearing even if it means less money in his pocket? I think so.
Formula 1 has so much history and roots in Europe which should be preserved, nurtured, and grown. The sport’s calendar needs meaningful tracks on its calendar and fans who have grown up going to the GPs and have made the trips family traditions.
Bernie’s greed and putting his own self-interests before those of Formula 1 when dealing with the different track officials and promoters could all lead to Formula 1 eventually racing very little in Europe and its fan base shrinking drastically.
When will Bernie stop chasing the money, feeding his own greed, and realize that home, in this case Europe, is where the heart, soul, fans, and traditions of Formula 1 are? My fear is that it will happen when the European fan base has shrunk so much that putting the races back at the historic tracks won’t matter much.