Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that there will be no German GP on the 2017 calendar, and says that the last remaining doubt involves Brazil.
Ecclestone also admitted that the deal to keep the Italian GP at Monza has not yet been signed, but insists that he is not concerned about the lack of a formal agreement. A definitive schedule will be approved by the World Motor Sport Council on November 30.
“The only question mark, really, is Brazil,” Ecclestone told Motorsport.com. “We’re getting that sorted out. I hope it will be sorted.”
He confirmed that the new Monza deal has not progressed beyond a handshake, despite the Italian circuit’s boss visiting him in London earlier this week.
“Lots of handshakes. They’re Italians! They couldn’t have signed [this week], they wanted to change things in the contract, which we’ve agreed to.”
Asked if he had any doubts about Monza, he said: “No, not at all. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.”
Regarding the German GP, Ecclestone implied that the race could return in 2018, which is officially Hockenheim’s turn in the original alternating deal agreed with the Nurburgring.
“We had a contract that alternated with Nurburgring, and next year was Nurburgring. We were hoping that we could have done a deal with the people that we had the contract with. Hockenheim has a contract for 2018.
“I’m not disappointed, I’m surprised. What does a country need, if they’re interested in F1? What more interest can they have? They’re not short of drivers or constructors.”
Regarding the expected shuffling of 2017 dates involving Hungary, Singapore, Malaysia and Mexico, he said: “There have been so many things moved, I don’t remember. The calendar will be out next week. Good things are worth waiting for, believe me.”
Looking further ahead, Ecclestone admitted that there were doubts about the long-term future of the Singapore GP.
“It costs an awful lot of money to put that race on. When we made that contract with them it was never with an idea of lighting the place up, it was only later that I said let’s light it up and spend another 20 million of their money.
“They’re saying, ‘For 10 years we’ve paid our dues really, so we’d like it a bit cheaper.’ They’ve done what they wanted to do for the brand, obviously. I don’t want to lose Singapore. There are certain races that we’re better off not losing.”
He also acknowledged the recent statement from the Malaysian government to the effect that the Sepang race won’t continue past 2018.
“Apparently that’s what they’ve agreed. Nice people, lovely people, never had any problem with them. All good.”