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Friday, November 14, 2008

More money concerns for Bernie?

As the world financial crisis continues to take its toll, China appears to be the latest event questioning its future in Formula 1.

Organizers are quoted by news agency AFP as considering whether to commit to the sport beyond the conclusion of the event's current contract in 2010.

"We're doing the assessment,” director of the city’s Administration of Sports, Qiu Weichang, said. “By next year we should be able to give you an answer.”

China has already dropped its MotoGP event.

Poor attendance and escalating costs have taken the shine off of an event which was heralded just a few years ago. Organizers also seem to be cool on Bernie Ecclestone's push for night racing.

“In Singapore... holding the event at night is a good way to attract tourists to a small country,” he said. “I think Singapore is hosting this event in their own unique way but we have our own situation.”

France, citing finances, has already cancelled its date.

Meanwhile, organizers in Montreal continue to try to get back on the schedule after being unceremoniously dropped last month.

But Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay said the city needs an answer “very soon.”

“We need to know if we're going to have a Grand Prix in 2009,” he told the Montreal Gazzette. “We're trying to find a proposal that will meet with the approval of Bernie Ecclestone and his board of directors. He's not interested in where the money's going to come from, he just wants to get the money to which he thinks he's entitled.”

All this comes as wild and crazy rumors sweep the gossip front, with British newspaper the Daily Mail reporting Ecclestone may be facing a divorce from wife Slavica.

A newspaper columnist reports Slavica has moved out and consulted a divorce lawyer, but Ecclestone has dismissed rumors of a split, blaming noise from renovations at a neighboring property as the reason his wife moved to an apartment.

While this sort of sordid news is something typically to be avoided, it may bear watching as it is believed a vast portion of Ecclestone's money is held in offshore trusts in Slavica's name.
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