The cost of the Melbourne race, which is paid for by the government of Victoria, is often a focus of debate in run-up to the Grand Prix.
Yesterday the Herald Sun newspaper leaked details of how much Formula One Management receive from the race. It claimed to have seen documents from 2010 which showed its current five-year deal, which ends in 2015, cost $171 (?é?ú108m) in total.
The fee for the 2011 race was $31m, which rises by around 5% every year and should reach $37.7m in 2015.
Speaking to The Age today Ecclestone refused to confirm the figures due to confidentiality clauses but he did say the fee was not enough to cover the teams’ costs:
“That race probably costs the teams probably something like 17 million, 18 million maybe, something like that,” he said. “The money [paid] to the teams nowhere near covers the cost of that. The teams are subsidised by the sponsors.”
Asked whether Australia should retain its race Ecclestone said: “Well it’s up to them isn’t it? It’s up to the people who are responsible. I can’t make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will. They shouldn’t complain after they sign.
“Most of the people I think, or the same person I’ve been dealing with, Mr [Ron] Walker, for years – he looks over 21, in fact I know he is. And I think he should know what he’s doing.”
Ecclestone added he was hoping to be at this year’s Grand Prix: “They put a good race on”.
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