Motor racing: Bernie Ecclestone says Singapore unlikely to extend F1 race deal

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg (left) leads the start of the race, as Sahara Force India F1 Team's German driver Nico Hulkenberg (right) crashes during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore on Sept 18, 2016.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg (left) leads the start of the race, as Sahara Force India F1 Team's German driver Nico Hulkenberg (right) crashes during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore on Sept 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (Florida) • Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that Singapore Grand Prix chiefs no longer want to hold an F1 race, reported Motorsport.com.

There has been speculation for several months on whether Singapore is renewing its current contract, which runs out after next year's race. However, in an interview with German publication Auto Motor Und Sport published yesterday, Mr Ecclestone said that his belief was that Singapore was not going to extend its race deal.

The 86-year-old Briton added: "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 any more."

A Singapore GP spokesman said last night that it does not comment on ongoing negotiations.

Mr Ecclestone also said in his interview that he would not be surprised if some of the current manufacturers - including world champion Mercedes - quit in the next few years. "It could happen to us that Mercedes and Ferrari run away," he said. "But honestly, if the races get better, this may not be such a terrible vision."

He added: "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 One has done the job for them. There is no gratitude."

The doubts about the long-term future of the Singapore GP come amid serious question marks about both the German and Brazilian Grands Prix during the 2016 season, which will end this weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Speaking about the races that have not yet been confirmed next season, Mr Ecclestone said: "We do our best to keep Canada on the calendar. In Brazil, we try the same, even if it is difficult.

"We cannot subsidise the race in Germany if we do not do the same with other races in Europe."

•Additional reporting by Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Ecclestone says S'pore unlikely to extend F1 race deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe