Bernie Ecclestone says he was branded “stupid” by his superiors and advisors after signing up to take charge of the Turkish grand prix venue near Istanbul.
The F1 supremo, at the scene of his new acquisition’s hosting of MotoGP this weekend, has secured the future of the fledgling race until 2021, but he admitted that his superiors baulked at the terms of the 80-page contract, which is rumoured to have cost Ecclestone between (US) $140m and $190 million.
“This is not a profitable investment for me, it is honestly the worst deal I have ever been in,” said the 76-year-old, who is the chief executive of formula one’s commercial rights holder.
He told the morning newspaper Sabah: “My board of directors thought I am a stupid businessman after checking the agreement.
“So if you ask why we are still in, I would say that Istanbul Park is the best race course in the world; that I believe in Istanbul and that it will bring advantages in the long term.”
Ecclestone refused to divulge the financial details of the deal, but evocatively insisted that it is “lucrative” for Istanbul’s Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce’s chairman Murat Yalcinas admitted that the circuit and the Turkish GP has so far lost “millions of dollars”.