Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bernie Spice?

Not to be confused with “Old Spice.” Emperor Ecclestone has been causing great buzz over the past few weeks with his latest visions of Formula 1’s future.

First Bernie caused a tither over the possibilities of starting up a rival Asian GP2 series. Cynics suggest this is an attempt to crush the rival A1 GP. Yet with the excruciating delay between rounds of Messer Ecclestone’s prized jewel, (Formula 1) Bernie “The Muppet” decided to drop by and cast his shadow over the paddock of Brands Hatch during the recent A1 GP season finale.

This sighting in turn led to speculation that Ecclestone was possibly giving the rival series a “Test Drive.” Or perhaps seeing if any deals could be had at “Flea Market” prices, as Bernie’s always looking for new entities to add to his mushrooming portfolio. (Perhaps Bernie was merely shopping for some new threads?)

Interestingly it has been reported that the “Death Star Bernie” (F1 Empire) has just filed for patent approval of the term GP3, complete with flashy race car logo. So could a new Feeder series be in the offing?

Then there’s the current takeover of the Istanbul Park Circuit, where’s Messer Ecclestone wiped away the punitive fines levied against the previous race organizers in order to ensure a Turkish Grand Prix until 2021.

And as Peter Windsor so rightly pointed out, it seems a bit hypocritical of Bernie to levy a $5 million dollar fine against Turkey for a political wrangling upon the race podium, yet stipulate that the Valencia event is dependant upon the current government win upcoming elections.

Apparently Ecclestone was too busy rubbing elbows with the King of Spain and Herr Schumacher in Barcelona last weekend as others had wondered aloud if Bernie’s passport would soon be adorning a Singapore stamp. (Not to be confused with Singapore Sling's...)

This was in regards to the announcement of Singapore being granted a Grand Prix for 2008. Joining new race venue Valencia on next season’s calendar. Yet Singapore’s deal was only dependant upon the Government’s funding of facilities, while the region’s Real Estate Czar will also ante currency into the project.

This means that after no temporary street circuit races being added to the calendar since the long forgotten Iceberg Grand Prix held in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. (1989-91) There will now be three street races next year with Valencia and Singapore joining Monaco. And with Valencia landing the title of European Grand Prix, it appears that the rival German venues will be forced to share the German GP moniker beginning in ’09.

It appears one of the reasons for Bernie spending “quality time” in Barcelona was to announce the Spanish Grand Prix circuit’s contract extension, as the venue will host races thru 2016. Thus making Spain the newest two race Country on the F1 calendar.

So where will Mr. Ecclestone show up next? And what further changes will he cause in his quest for a 20 race Grand Prix calendar? As India seems assured of a new event, along with rumours of South Korea in the mix. And Japan wants to join the two race crowd with a return to Suzuka…