Although he has been accused of chasing the money rather than doing what is good for F1, Bernie Ecclestone says one of his last actions as supremo was saying no to a Vietnam Grand Prix.
Ousted from his position as Formula 1 CEO, Ecclestone no longer as the power to decide which countries host grands prix and which are left dreaming of a slot on motor racing’s biggest stage.
One such country in the latter category is Vietnam, who would have brought in an estimated £320m over a ten-year contract.
Ecclestone, though, said no.
“Last year I was approached about having a race in Vietnam,” he told Britain’s Independent newspaper. “I was offered the opportunity to meet the president about doing a deal for a grand prix.
“I could have done the deal and signed it in August. Everything was arranged for this to happen but I didn’t do the deal because we already have quite a few races in that part of the world and I thought it might be a little bit over the top to have another one.”
Despite being accused by new owners Liberty Media of chasing money rather than building the “long-term brand and health of the business”, Ecclestone says he vetoed Vietnam based on just that.
“It hasn’t got any racing history at all,” he said. “So I didn’t want to put another race in the same sort of area where we already have very good promoters. And I was criticised for putting the races in Baku and in Russia because they hadn’t got that much racing history.”