Richard Rae: Golden chance to give great deal back

Tuesday 27 October 2009 01:00

Coming shortly after the painfully delayed removal of one overly influential and divisive figure in Max Mosley, the continuing question mark over the future of the British Grand Prix suggests Formula One remains a sport in which the views of the fans are uniquely secondary to the demands of an individual.

Bernie Ecclestone has spent a lifetime using the vehicle of Formula One to make himself hugely rich.

To most people with the interests of a great sport at heart, signing a (very lucrative) long-term contract with Silverstone, enabling the owners of a great and historic track to plan ahead and build the new facilities long demanded in the heartland of the sport, home to world champions past and present, would be a matter of simple instinct.

Unfortunately, as a former team principal once remarked, the thing to remember about Bernie is that the only thing that matters is the deal. But there is hope. Last year, when Ecclestone saw the huge crowds thronging to Northamptonshire, a week after the stands at a new, high-fee paying circuit in Turkey had been almost empty, he backtracked, suggesting that if Donington didn't come through, the race could come back to Silverstone after all.

Formula One needs those fans a lot more than Ecclestone needs more money. As he enters his 80th year, it would be good to think he'd give something back – or take a little less.

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