Formula 1's finances will not be hurt by the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, after the sport's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone declared on Monday that the race organizers still paid for the event.
The Bahrain GP was dropped as the 2011 season opener in the wake of political troubles in the Gulf state, and attempts to get it reinstated later in the campaign failed after teams complained of logistical problems. Although there were suggestions earlier in the year that Ecclestone would return the race sanctioning fee, believed to be around $39 million, he has now said that the Bahrainis were happy for it to remain in F1's coffers.
Speaking to Britain's The Independent newspaper, Ecclestone said: "I don't think turnover will be down this year. I think it will be flat because we were paid for Bahrain. I said we will give them the money back and they said don't bother. I think the turnover and profit will be more or less the same as 2010."
The Bahrain GP has been given an April slot in next year's calendar, even though there remain reports of ongoing clashes between police and protesters in the Gulf island state. Ecclestone said he was hopeful, however, that the event would not need to be dropped again.
"I spoke to the Bahrainis yesterday and they said everything is going to be fine. I hope they are right for their sake, not ours."
Looking longer term, Ecclestone also suggested that his next targets for races are Mexico and South Africa.
"After Russia I would like to go to South Africa and Mexico. Both countries are trying to do something," he said.