MARCH 31, 1997
Problems for Luxembourg GP?
THE Brazilian Grand Prix marked the first occasion on which Bernie Ecclestone's Formula 1 Communications company produced the entire television show. In most countries the local TV companies cover the race as "host broadcaster". At Interlagos the entire show was filmed, edited and packaged by Ecclestone, using his $40m TV facility, known as "Bakersville", after former Brabham mechanic Eddie Baker, who runs the vast operation, which transports 200 tons of equipment from race to race, employs nearly 200 people and includes studios, editing suites, commentary booths and even a canteen.
The only problem is that "Bakersville" is so big that it is impossible for there to be races held with a gap of less than two weeks between them. This was one of the decisive factors in deciding the F1 calendar this year and resulted in the difficult two-week gap between the Brazil and Argentine GPs, which means that most of the F1 circus will be flying back to Europe for a few days and then flying back out to South America.
The only exception to the rule was the plan to run the Austrian and Luxembourg Grands Prix on consecutive weekends in September. There were suggestions in Brazil that Baker has had to tell Ecclestone that this is simply not possible given the logistical problems involved in setting up the miles of cabling of "Bakersville". This could mean that either Austria or Luxembourg might be called off or moved.
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