Korea seeks 'co-operation' from Bernie

Tuesday 18-October-2011 11:57

Promoters of the Korean Grand Prix are determined to reduce the costs of hosting the race, but concede they need help from Bernie Ecclestone.

After a tricky debut race at Yeongam in 2010, the second edition was a lot smoother over the weekend. However, despite ironing out several problems over the past 12 months, doubts remain over the future of the event due to financial problems.

Organisers reportedly forked out somewhere in the region of £52 million to host this year's race and, with the money men only able to recoup about £16 million through ticket sales, it's easy to see why race promoter Won-Hwa Park needs to cut costs if they are to see out their contract which runs until 2016.

"My main focus has been on reducing the costs as much as possible," he told Autosport. "This is the core issue. Some local people in this region are against the race because of a big financial loss in hosting the race and organising this event. Those citizens, who have a background as farmers and are normally poor, want to have the funds distributed for other purposes rather than be used for this so-far unpopular event.

"At the same time, I must increase the awareness of motor sport so that people and citizens understand what we are doing. This would be an indirect way to convince the national government. Motor racing is not known here as much as it is in other developed countries."

One way to reduce costs would be to renegotiate their current deal with the Formula One Management company, but they need F1 supremo Ecclestone to come to the party.

"We are trying hard, but we need the co-operation of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone," Park said. "We certainly want to continue with this event because it is a big event, even though we have losses. We want to give this region momentum by holding this event to help boost its economy and to boost the image, and to change our farming background in this region."

He added: "He knows perfectly well our current situation, and I hope he is more co-operative."

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