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Bernie Ecclestone hints that Singapore no longer wants to hold F1 race
[LONDON] Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Singapore Grand Prix chiefs no longer want to hold a Formula One race, reported Motorsport.com.
There has been speculation for several months that Singapore was questioning whether or not it would renew its current contract, which runs out after next year's race.
However, in an interview with German publication Auto Motor Und Sport on Sunday, Mr Ecclestone said that his belief was that Singapore was not going to extend its race deal.
He said: "Look at what we have done for Singapore. Yes, the Grand Prix has cost Singapore a lot of money, but we've also given them a lot of money.
"Singapore was suddenly more than just an airport to fly to or from somewhere. Now they believe they have reached their goal and they do not want a Grand Prix anymore."
In response to Mr Ecclestone's comments, Singapore GP said that it does not comment on ongoing commercial negotiations.
Mr Ecclestone also said that he would not be surprised if some of the current manufacturers - including world champions Mercedes - quit in the next few years, too.
"It could happen to us that Mercedes and Ferrari run away," explained Mr Ecclestone. "But honestly, if the races get better, this may not be such a terrible vision.
"We have to expect the manufacturers to leave us anyway. Mercedes will retire on the day when it suits them and it's something we had before - look at Honda, BMW and Toyota. They go when Formula One has done the job for them. There is no gratitude."
Doubts about the long-term future of the Singapore GP come amid serious question marks about both the German and Brazilian Grands Prix for 2016.
Speaking about the races that have not yet been confirmed, Mr Ecclestone said: "We do our best to keep Canada on the calendar. In Brazil, we try the same, even if it is difficult.
"In terms of Hockenheim ... We cannot subsidise the race in Germany, if we do not do the same with other races in Europe."
Mr Ecclestone also said he believes the sport could be made more attractive by ditching the current one-race format for two shorter races. He believes F1 would appeal more to modern audiences, sponsors and advertisers if there were two 40-minute races, separated by a gap during which drivers could be interviewed.
But he questioned whether the sport's decision-makers have the "courage" to make such a seismic change to the traditional schedule.
"People have a much shorter attention span and a lot of sports are looking at introducing shorter forms of their games."
STRAITS TIMES ONLINE, AFP