Ecclestone hits back at Melbourne F1 cost complaints 24 January, 2013 F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at the latest controversy surrounding the cost of Melbourne’s annual grand prix. After reportedly seeing secret documents, local media this week revealed for the first time that the government pays more than $30 million in race fees to the sport, which increases by 5 per cent every year until the end of the contract in 2015. Tourism minister Louise Asher said that those figures are “too high”. F1 chief executive Ecclestone hit back on local 3AW radio: “Maybe it’s not a true figure. “[paying] is up to them, isn’t it? I can’t make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will. [But] they shouldn’t complain after they sign.” Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott commented: “Melbournians have got to realise [that] major events don’t grow on trees. “They cost a lot of money to stage,” he told the Herald Sun. (GMM) Subbed by AJN. Related NewsMelbourne secures Australian Grand Prix until 2020Decision on Red Bull Melbourne disqualification appeal on TuesdayRed Bull appeal of Melbourne disqualification is first test of F1′s new eraRed Bull deny dropping Ricciardo disqualification appealHamilton admits he did not want to stop in MelbourneRed Bull appeal to be heard in Paris on 14 AprilRed Bull disqualification appeal may take several weeksAustralian GP chairman Ron Walker steps downRed Bull file papers to appeal Ricciardo disqualificationBriatore: Now we have drivers forced to behave on the track like accountants Bec According to figures released by the state of Victoria, the Australian F1 Grand Prix makes the state of Victoria a direct profit of nearly $35 million, and an indirect return on investment of 254%. And one has to presume those figures err on the side of caution. JodyRenza We know for a while that he is on Planet-Bernie…needless to say without any financial problems for now..millions of fans will hate it if F1 loses the Grand Prix in Australia because the races are great & at least we have passionate fans there & the race will be attend in thousands…more than we can say of some other venues that the only guy who is profitting from that is Bernie…empty stands, no fans..no passion..red faced fans watching & defending their sport against other sports with filled stands!!