F1 boss: No races being dropped

Updated: April 16, 2010, 2:05 AM ET
Associated Press

SHANGHAI -- Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone criticized promoters of the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday but said the contract for the race will continue.

Ecclestone said the rolling contract "will go on" while bemoaning the lack of local publicity and declining crowds for the event.

"The contract is ongoing here," Ecclestone said. "We renew every five years. It'll go on. It's a rolling contract."

Stands were all but empty Friday for the practice sessions, the first of the fourth Grand Prix weekend of the season.

"It's a shame because the whole venue is super," Ecclestone said. "They've not promoted it properly. It's as simple as that. If you were in Shanghai, you wouldn't even know there was a race here."

Ecclestone sought to allay doubts about whether the first Korean Grand Prix would go ahead this season, amid growing speculation the facility won't be completed on time.

"All the pits are built, media center, everything is built," Ecclestone said. "It's on the calendar. It'll definitely be there, we'll be there."

Doubts about the Korean race, set for Oct. 24, were fueled when circuit designer Hermann Tilke was quoted this week as saying he was concerned it will not be completed on time.

"Tilke -- he's the track designer, he's not construction," Ecclestone said.

The next major Asian addition to the F1 calendar will be an Indian Grand Prix, slated for next season. Ecclestone said that addition would not threaten the continuation of any existing races. The 2010 season will feature 19 GP races, including seven in Asia and one in Australia.

"We're not dropping anything," Ecclestone said, smiling as he added that F1 was aiming to add to its calendar of races and "getting ready for 25."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press