Bernie Ecclestone casts doubt on Korean Grand Prix

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on the future of the Korean Grand Prix, just over a year since the country hosted its first race.

The organiser of the race, held for the second time on 16 October, is trying to renegotiate the cost of the contract.

But speaking at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, Ecclestone said: "There are lots of things you can't afford; you don't have to have it."

Ecclestone added that he had "no idea" whether the race would be held in 2012.

The new track was built in Yeongam in the south-east of South Korea, 230 miles from capital city Seoul, as part of a plan to develop that area of the country.

But it has met with local opposition since the inaugural race in 2010 because of high costs.

The race fee has been reported by local media in South Korea as £52m - believed to be the highest on the F1 calendar.

The current deal, which runs until 2016, is also said to include a 10% year-on-year "escalator", as is usual in F1 race contracts.

The track was envisaged as the first stage of a redevelopment, including a marina and new town. But no new buildings were built between the inaugural race and this year's event.

Asked if he was disappointed that the track had been hastily patched up for 2011, Ecclestone said: "It is a disappointment, it really is. They didn't get behind it. It was a big enough effort to get it on in the first place."

Ecclestone arrived in India for the new race stil basking in the afterglow of the announcement of a second race in the United States, overlooking New York City in the state of New Jersey.

The last US race was in 2008 at Indianapolis, but a new one will take place next year in Austin, Texas, before the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey in 2013.

The New Jersey race marks the culmination of 40 years of attempts to establish a race in or close to New York.

"[Double 1960s world champion] Graham Hill and I tried to do it in Central Park - that's how long ago it was," said Ecclestone.

"It's going to be perfect. We need another two [races], it's a big country.

"It's more or less New York - though it is in New Jersey. You'll see Manhattan.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who won at Indianapolis in 2008, said: "Mega, mega. I've been waiting for a race near New York.

"That will be able to compete with places like Singapore - maybe they'll do it at night too. I'm massively excited and there is a huge following in the States, it's an area where we should be going."

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