Ecclestone issues Korean GP warning

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has warned Korean Grand Prix officials the future of their race is on the line.

Motorsports news: Bernie Ecclestone

Race promoter Park Won-Hwa confirmed the event less than two weeks ago incurred a significant financial loss, with the feeling now it is in severe jeopardy for next season after just two years.

It has led to severe criticism from locals in the province of South Jeolla, many of whom have a farming background and insist the money should be spent on more important matters and resources.

It did not help that after the inaugural event last year the gates were locked on the Korea International Circuit and not reopened again until shortly before this season's race.

The venue was found to be in a tardy state, with weeds everywhere and graffiti having been scrawled on the paddock floor.

Park is now looking for the circuit to be used both nationally and internationally in the future, but as far as the GP is concerned, he has conceded he needs Ecclestone's help.

Park claims the fee was too high when originally negotiated, and a 10% escalator clause in the seven-year deal that runs through to 2016 is beyond their means.

Asked whether the race would stay as he inspected the Buddh International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend's inaugural Indian Grand Prix, Ecclestone replied: "I've no idea."

With regards to renegotiating the contract, Ecclestone hinted at the likely difficulties faced, adding: "There are lots of things in life you can't afford, and you don't have to have them.

"And it took us long enough to negotiate with them in the first place."

When it was suggested to Ecclestone that if the Koreans were unable to afford the race that would be the end of the subject, he said: "Yeah."

Ecclestone, 81 on Friday, certainly expressed his unhappiness with their handling of the circuit and event as a whole this year.

"It was strange. They didn't really get behind it," added Ecclestone.

"That was a disappointment because it was a big enough effort to get it on in the first place."

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