New destinations not harming F1 says Jones

Fans at the inaugural 2011 Indian GP
Fans at the inaugural 2011 Indian GP

Feb.8 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is not harming Formula 1 with his planned expansion to even more new venues, according to 1980 world champion Alan Jones.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who has already arranged two forthcoming US races and also an event in Russia, has said in recent interviews that he hopes his sport’s next destinations are Africa and Mexico.

He is clearly making room on the already packed 20-race annual calendar by – for example – organising for Spain’s two events to alternate a single date.

And even the great Spa-Francorchamps and the historic F1 host France look like having to be only biennial events, creating the impression that Ecclestone regards new markets as arguably more important than the sport’s traditional home Europe.

So is Ecclestone doing the right thing for the sport?

“Well, I don’t know about South Africa,” Australian Jones began.

“But I guess the more new places, or the more new venues that you can do won’t do any harm, because it’s putting it (F1) under the nose of people who a) haven’t had it for a long time or b) have never had it,” he told us.

Meanwhile, 12-time grand prix winner Jones – who revealed he is currently reading the controversial biography ‘No Angel’ – vowed to keep his Ecclestone anecdotes close to his chest for now.

“Well … I’d like to think I’ve still got a few years in front of me,” Jones laughed, “so no!”