LONDON (Reuters) – South Korea does not want a Formula One race next year but it was included on the calendar anyway for legal reasons, according to the sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
“They (local organisers) would rather it not happen,” he told reporters.
“We have a contract with Korea… we have to put it on the calendar. If we hadn’t have done they could have sued us. We let them off for a year on the understanding they would be back.”
The inclusion of the May 3 race, which was first hosted at the southern Yeongam circuit in 2010, took many in the sport by surprise when the calendar was published by the governing FIA this month.
The unpopular race was dropped for 2014, with promoters seeking to reduce the hosting fees, and many had doubted it would return.
Listed as subject to confirmation, the grand prix is seen as unlikely to happen with even local promoters reacting to the scheduling with surprise.
Sports insiders suggested its reappearance had more to do with the engine regulations, which state that if there are more than 20 races on the calendar the allocation of power units remains at five a season per driver instead of four.
With Korea included, the calendar would stretch to a record 21 races.
The wording of the rules is ‘as originally scheduled’, which some have interpreted as meaning the engine allocation will remain at five even if ultimately Korea drops out.