Ecclestone – France & the UK to share a circuit? Alonso not a ‘great’.

According to Bloomberg, Ecclestone has said that some of the weaker Formula 1 events may have to make way for events in the emerging markets, no matter how established those events are.

With San Marino removed from the 2007 season, and Germany’s circuits Hockenheim and Nurburgring alternating years, Ecclestone has said that there is no room for sentiment when it comes to the decision as to which races should remain on the calendar.

Ecclestone has had a long-running, well-publicised difference of opinion with the British Grand Prix organisers and is concerned that little progress has been made in securing the finance required to overhaul Silverstone which he has likened to ‘an old house in need of repair’. Ecclestone has insisted that if work is not done soon, the oldest race on the Formula 1 calendar could be removed. “The French are happy to do that. As for the British racce, I don’t know what they want – and I’m not sure they do,” he explained, noting that the Magny-Cours circuit has also struggled to find finance.

Ecclestone also noted that following the success of Grands Prix races in China and Bahrain that events in India, Korea and Russia are likely. “India is a country that is probably going to grow quicker than China. We had to make sure we found the right place in India, and we have.”

Speaking about Alonso, Ecclestone has claimed that he has a long way to go before he can be considered a ‘great’ World champion. He claims that Alonso has yet to connect with the people in the same way that Ayrton Senna did. The comment has come as some surprise given Alonso’s fanatical backing in Spain but Ecclestone backed his statement up by saying Alonso should get out and meet the people more instead of burying himself in racing and testing. He is certain however, that Alonso will add at least one more title to his collection, although he did not specify when he thought that would happen.

Ecclestone said that Alonso had had a good effect on the sport in Spain, although he did not confirm that the rise in popularity would allow Spain to host two races a year – something which happened when Schumacher increased the motorsport’s profile in Germany. “Years ago, we could not sell anything at all but, now, thanks to Fernando Alonso, the turnaround is somewhat obvious. This sport is larger than any driver and, while Fernando has helped a lot, we would not put on a second race in Spain just because of that,” Ecclestone said.