Ecclestone revels in India GP success

Ecclestone revels in India GP success

I love this country, says F1 boss

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is not some two-bit hustler. The 81-year-old is one of the smartest men in the motor sport industry and his stranglehold on an empire as large as F1 is not something someone with little ambition can achieve.

In a chat with Deccan Herald, Ecclestone was candid about his plans for India as the next big racing destination and Asia becoming the hub of F1.

On dip in ticket sales at this year’s Indian GP: It happens everywhere. The first year, people come because they have not seen it before. When you talk about some other circuits like England for example, they have 120,000 people but it has been going on for a hundred years. The circuits that have been around for a long, long time obviously have big crowds.

On second Indian GP: Not at this moment. Let’s get this (Indian GP at the BIC) established.

On the future after five-year deal with Jaypee Sports International: We will extend it. We have entered the house. Last year, only bits and pieces were not finished. But they have done a super job now. This is one of the top circuits in the world now.
On why he stayed back till the end of the race last year, something he usually never does: This year, I will do the same. I like India. I’m happy here. India suits me. I like the people.

On Asia becoming the hub of Formula One:  I was the one that decided that we move to this part of the world a long time ago. I believe that it is a lovely place to visit. With the crazy system of the Euro, which is slowly but surely destroying Europe, my point is go East. But it is difficult to satisfy everybody. Let’s face it. Formula One was built in Europe and we have a lot of support there. We must not panic.

On new engine regulations in 2014 and if smaller teams will survive that change:  These things have gone on for years. The trouble is to find a method so that it is not necessary to spend money to be competitive. Meaning, you coming in with a big budget should not beat me because I have a small budget.

On if there will be a budget cap from 2014:  We are looking at it. We will fix an amount and teams can’t spend more than that amount in F1. That includes drivers and whatever. The trouble is that it is easy for big teams to get around and that is what we are trying to stop.

On Narain Karthikeyan and his interest in seeing him behind the wheels of a Force India car:  Everybody is looking for what they think is the best option they can have. A lot of these guys are quicker than they look. It is the car. For example, this year, if it was Michael (Schumacher) in a Red Bull, it would have been a different Michael.

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