Singapore ‘just an airport’ before F1, sport’s boss says of city’s plan to dump race
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Singapore ‘just an airport’ before F1, sport’s boss says of city’s plan to dump race

FORMULA One chief Bernie Ecclestone has hinted at the likelihood that Singapore will stop hosting the Grand Prix after its deal runs out in 2017, and appeared to lash out at the city state for failing to show gratitude.

According to Motorsport.com, Ecclestone said in an interview with German publication Auto Motor Und Sport on Sunday that there was no gratitude in F1, with many of the sport’s organisers dropping their commitments once they have reaped what they came to sow.

He also cast doubt on the future of the sport, reportedly saying it would come as no surprise if some of its current manufacturers, including world champions Mercedes, decides to quit over the next few years.

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Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive of the Formula One Group. Pic: Reuters.

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

“We have to expect the manufacturers to leave us anyway. Mercedes will retire on the day when it suits them and it’s something we had before – look at Honda, BMW and Toyota. They go when Formula 1 has done the job for them. There is no gratitude,” he was quoted as saying.

He then picked on Singapore, saying the Grand Prix had greatly benefited the small Southeast Asian nation.

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Ecclestone reportedly said after the Grand Prix came to town, the Lion City became more than just a layover for travelers passing through.

“Look at what we have done for Singapore. Yes, the Grand Prix has cost Singapore a lot of money, but we’ve also given 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.”

The island state first hosted the race in 2008 and renewed its contract by five years in 2012.

A Reuters report said it costs Singapore an estimated SG$150 million (US$105.04 million) each year to organize the F1 race, 60 percent of which is funded by the government.

With Singapore’s impending pullout, however, the future of the sport in Southeast Asia hangs in balance.

This is because Malaysia is also considering dropping the championship after 2018 due to declining ticket sales and TV viewership. Malaysia has been hosting the race in Sepang since 1999.

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