Future of loss-making Korean GP hangs in the balance

Future of loss-making Korean GP hangs in the balance

YEONGAM, South Korea - South Korea's loss-making, poorly attended Formula One grand prix could be axed after Sunday's race but local organisers are still hopeful of renegotiating their contract and keeping it on the calendar.

Promoter Park Won-hwa told Reuters on Saturday that he was optimistic despite recognising the future of the event at the Yeongam circuit hung in the balance with just a 50/50 chance of survival.

"I do not think it's going to be the last one. We are eager to continue this event because we invest a lot of money to build this circuit," said the bespectacled Park in an interview at his office.

"Public opinion in Korea was very much against continuously holding this event because of a huge deficit. But now we are more or less stabilised financially and we would like to continue," added Park, who is a professor of air and space law.

The grand prix, held near the shipyards of Mokpo some 400km south of Seoul and now in its fourth edition, is listed only provisionally on the 2014 schedule along with Mexico and a new race in New Jersey.

If all are confirmed, Formula One would have a record 22 races next year but few in the travelling circus believe that will be the case. Most teams are reluctant to go beyond 20 rounds.

Korea and New Jersey, whose debut was already postponed last year for financial reasons, are seen as the most likely to be dropped.

"We don't know yet whether we can continue or not because we have to deal with Formula One Management. I do not know how it will end up," said Park.

"We want to renegotiate. Mr Ecclestone has his position, we have our position. Obviously the core issue is the money problem and we don't know if we can find a satisfactory solution or not.

"But I am very much hopeful because Mr Ecclestone is such a nice person and he knows our situation."

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