MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - European race promoters should come to Mexico to see how it should be done, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday after assuring the country’s long-term future on the calendar.
Without singling out any European races -- although it could be assumed Italy, Germany and Britain would be high on the 85-year-old’s list -- Ecclestone said Mexico’s return for the first time in 23 years provided a useful lesson to others.
“This is when some of our people in Europe who complain about things, when they realize what people like these do to promote the race and make it happen and compare it with what they do,” he told Reuters in the pitlane of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
”For them mostly, Sunday night when the race finishes that’s it. They remember it sort of a week before the next year’s (event).
“We should get some of the European promoters to come to these races and have a look and see what they should be doing,” he added.
Germany was absent this year due to financial reasons, despite it being the home of Mercedes, while Italy’s Monza circuit has yet to agree a contract beyond 2016.
Mexican race promoters CIE are the world’s third largest concert and events organisers and are expecting a crowd of more than 100,000 on Sunday.
The circuit that last hosted a race in 1992 has been updated for the times, with the track twisting through the old baseball stadium instead of the full extent of the daunting Peraltada curve that is no more.
“It’s different, completely different. Nothing the same,” said Ecclestone, before a tour of the track in an electric buggy.
The Briton said Mexico’s place on the calendar was assured.
“It was long-term before and it will be long-term again,” he said.
Latin America now has two races, with Brazil following Mexico next month, and Ecclestone said he was also talking to Argentina -- another race that has been absent since the 1990s.
“It can happen. Not will, can,” he said.
”It’s incredible. All these countries in a little bit of financial problems and they are getting the job done. And the so-called mighty Europe...
“It’s really and truly the people behind things that make things happen. Not necessarily the circuit or the paddock, just the people’s attitude. It’s nothing to do really with money, it’s what people want to do.”
European promoters, such as British Grand Prix organisers Silverstone, must recoup hosting fees through ticket prices while many newer venues on the calendar receive significant state funding.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis