Just hours after we reported quotes from FIA President Jean Todt in support of the embattled Australian Grand Prix, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has followed suit, despite having previously expressed a largely indifferent attitude about the race remaining in the country.
The comments mark a rather surprising an extraordinary backflip from the 80-year-old, who now admits that he would “hate” to lose the event, the ongoing future of which has been under a cloud with much debate over the high costs of staging the event at Albert Park.
“Australia is as important to us as Monaco,” Ecclestone told Reuters in a telephone interview with the Australian media.
“It’s part of the world championship and has been for an awful long time. We’d hate to think that we’re going to lose Australia,” he added.
But the F1 mogul was conscious of recent concerns from local politicians that the cost of staging the event was becoming prohibitive.
“In the case of Melbourne, if the product is too expensive for them, we understand that and when the contract comes to an end there’s no need to renew it. We wouldn’t force somebody to buy something that they don’t want or think is too expensive.
“We get massive worldwide television coverage – if that’s not important well, okay, don’t buy the product,” he added.
[Original image via Flickr]