Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bernie and petrodollars

It's still ironic. In hopes of raising more money, Bernie Ecclestone has increased threats to the organizers of the Grand Prix of France, England, Austria, Belgium and, of course, Canada, in recent years .
Some of these countries have lost their annual race, others have kept the price of huge investments. Still others, and we know only too well in Quebec, have had endless psychodrama, losing their Grand Prix, then finding a year later.
To increase the pressure on "old" countries, Ecclestone has found allies in the Middle East and Asia. The petrodollars have enabled him to realize its strategy in 2004, with the announcement of the presentation of a Grand Prix in Bahrain. For him, it was a huge success. Not only Formula 1 strengthened its international image, it also increased its revenues.
This week, we are witnessing a curious turn of events. Due to political instability in Bahrain, the first Grand Prix of the season, scheduled for March 13 is canceled.
For Ecclestone, this time it is a slap in the face. The opening schedule, the fans and teams eagerly awaiting, is delayed by two weeks, when the big circus of the F 1 will be found in Australia.
Ecclestone may lose a lot of money because of the cancellation. Insurance will protect its investment in part but an agreement must be reached between both parties to resolve the issue completely, as explained in this article.
But we bet that the negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone does not represent the first priority of the Crown Prince of Bahrain these days. It is rather, as he put it, devote themselves to "the establishment of a new national dialogue."

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