NOVEMBER 21, 2016

Ecclestone questions Singapore GP future

Singapore has become the latest grand prix with a cloud over its future.

Singapore has become the latest grand prix with a cloud over its future.

Three races have provisional status on the 2017 schedule, others are in doubt for the future and now F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Singapore could be the next to go.

The night race has quickly become one of the most popular and spectacular on the calendar, and Ecclestone told Auto Motor und Sport: "Yes, it cost them a lot of money, but we also gave them a lot of money.

"Singapore was suddenly more than just an airport to fly to or from somewhere. Now they believe they have reached their goal and they do not want a grand prix anymore," he added.

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for race organiser Singapore GP told Channel Newsasia: "We don't comment on ongoing commercial negotiations."

Not just that, Ecclestone hinted that even some of F1's biggest team names might pull out.

"It could happen to us that Mercedes and Ferrari run away," said the Briton. "But honestly, if the races get better, this may not be such a terrible vision."

Indeed, it is a period of looming change for the sport, with new regulations, new owners and new bosses all arriving.

And Ecclestone told the Sunday Times that F1 needs to keep evolving, such as by splitting the current long-form grand prix format into two separate races.

"I don't know if we have the courage to change," said the 86-year-old. "Times change though and it is something we must look at."

As for F1's new owner Liberty, Ecclestone said the Americans are still getting their head around what they have bought, and need to clear European anti-competition approval.

"Let's wait," he said. "It's like a wedding -- you need to be married for a little while before you know if it works."

And he played down claims Ross Brawn is being lined up for a top job.

"He never spoke to me about it," he said. "But Ross has never done what I do. He has never negotiated with organisers and TV stations.

"He's been out of the business for a while -- I don't know what he could give to the sport."

Finally, when asked if he will be in Melbourne 2017, Ecclestone answered: "Did you see me in Melbourne 2016?"