Grand Prix Glasnost: Transparency and Openness in Formula 1

February 24, 2011

I was intrigued to read the interview that Bernie Ecclestone gave to the Telegraph Newspaper earlier this week. It seems to suggest a trend towards openness about dealings within F1 and may also be part of a public relations push to present CVC Partners investment in F1 in a more positive light.

The interview was ostensibly concerning the fact that Formula 1, not Bahrain, would be picking up the tab for the cancelled (or is that postponed?) race which was due to take place on 13 March 2011. However there seemed to be an underlying message that a) F1 does not try to rip off the countries in which it holds Grand Prix and b) They want to be more open and set the record straight regarding what really does go on. Ecclestone firstly confirmed that the widely quoted $40million fee which Bahrain would normally pay for holding the race was ‘close’ to the mark. He also made the point that, contrary to speculation, there was no $20million fee for holding the first (or last) race of the season. It is unusual for him to be so specific about some of the contractual dealings relating to Formula One Management, so could this be a new period of openness and transparency in F1, perhaps a kind of Grand Prix Glasnost? Let’s see what happens as the year progresses.

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