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. Reports on GrandPrix247.com by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.