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The Weekly Grapevine

This week, Dieter Rencken comments on the non-starter, non-Championship Indy race; and looks at the future of the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa.

That Tony George turned down Formula One's offer of a 'freebie' non-Championship race after China is no surprise: a case could be made that the offer was framed around a background of pure selfishness rather than genuine appeasement, with the numbers telling the story of the offer better than most.

During the build-up to the race, Bernie Ecclestone gave an interview, in which he severely criticised the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for not marketing the event to the American media. Reports published in the wake of the interview suggested that only 30% of the anticipated 120,000 crowd would be US-based, with the rest being foreigners from, mainly, Central and South America, plus Britain. Worse, the figures showed that, of the 30%, only a third of American spectators (10% of the total, or 12,000) came from Indiana or neighbouring states.

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