Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at European countries that don’t spend more to safeguard their future on the F1 calendar.
The F1 supremo was asked by Top Gear which recently lost races he most regrets, and answered: “Two races we’ve lost which I’m genuinely upset about were India and Turkey.”
However, the sport has also lost France, Monza’s race was in doubt for months and the future of the German grand prix is in doubt.
“It’s the same as in England,” Ecclestone insisted. “Silverstone is not, I’d say, super-safe — quite the opposite. These circuits don’t need a lot of money to make them safe.
“It’s disappointing to think that all these countries spend a lot of money trying to get the Olympics … and nobody makes any money out of. Yet, for the small amount of money they could (spend on) a formula one race, they don’t want to do it,” he added.
Ecclestone admitted another concern is that competitive situation in F1, with Mercedes dominating and Toto Wolff having refused to supply an engine to Red Bull.
Told that his relationship with the Mercedes team boss is strained, the 85-year-old denied it, and also played down reports Wolff is shaping up to oust him.
“I’m very happy for him to try. Or anybody else,” said Ecclestone.
F1 pundit Eddie Jordan also alleges that Wolff is still ‘close’ to Ferrari, amid speculation Mercedes earlier helped the great Italian team to catch up in 2016.
“I think they (Mercedes) wanted to see Ferrari be a little bit more competitive … and Ferrari was happy to get the information it got. Because it got a lot of information from Mercedes,” Ecclestone agreed.
The F1 chief executive also commented on global politics, admitting his support not only for controversial Russian president but also US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“It would be good for the world if he (Trump) won,” he said.
“Trump would want to cosy up to him (Putin) for sure, and he’d be right to do that,” Ecclestone added. “Which would be good for the world.”
And finally, he admitted that losing control of F1’s commercial rights was among his biggest regrets.
“She (former wife Slavica) put it all in trust and the trust sold the shares. Would I turn the clock back if I could so I still owned the company completely? Probably yes.
“It probably wasn’t a good decision, but it was the decision that had to be made. Was I happy that I made it? No,” Ecclestone concluded.