Korea seeks to renegotiate GP contract

Korean Grand Prix organisers are seeking the help of Bernie Ecclestone to allow them to renegotiate their race contract terms in a bid to keep the event on the calendar

Korea seeks to renegotiate GP contract

Amid question marks about the future of the Yeongam GP, race promoter Won-Hwa Park has admitted that the event faces financial difficulties because of the huge hosting fee that had been agreed before he arrived in his current role.

With a fresh mandate from the South Jeolla provincial government to try and reduce costs, Mr. Park has said that the key factor going forwards is in trying to bring down the outgoings - which includes the race hosting fee.

According to local media, the cost for the race this year stands at £52 million - which includes a £35 million fee for hosting and television rights. The current deal with Formula One Management, which runs until 2016, includes a 10 per cent escalator for hosting rights over its duration.

With income from tickets estimated to be around £16 million, the venue is currently loss making unless financial support can be got from the national government.

Despite widespread speculation last weekend that the financial situation could mean Korea elects to drop its event off the calendar as early as next year, Park is determined to do what he can to keep the race going.

In an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT explaining the future of the Korean GP, Park said: "We are trying hard, but we need the co-operation of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone. We certainly want to continue with this event because it is a big event, even though we have losses.

"We want to give this region momentum by holding this event to help boost its economy and to boost the image, and to change our farming background in this region."

When asked what the situation would be if Ecclestone was unwilling to change the terms of the original deal, Park said: "It is too early for me to say at the moment."

He added: "He knows perfectly well our current situation, and I hope he is more co-operative."

Speaking about the focus of his efforts since he took over, Park said: "My main focus has been on reducing the costs as much as possible.

"This is the core issue. Some local people in this region are against the race because of a big financial loss in hosting the race and organising this event.

"Those citizens, who have a background as farmers and are normally poor, want to have the funds distributed for other purposes rather than be used for this so-far unpopular event.

"At the same time, I must increase the awareness of motor sport so that people and citizens understand what we are doing. This would be an indirect way to convince the national government. Motor racing is not known here as much as it is in other developed countries."

For the full interview with Park about the status of the Korean GP, the future of the Yeongam track and the financial situation going forward click here.

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Q & A with Korean Grand Prix promoter Won-Hwa Park

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