Brno MotoGP Round Under Threat From 2012

These are difficult times for circuit owners. The Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain is currently dealing with asset seizures from the contractor who carried out alterations to the circuit, putting the future of the Andalusian circuit in jeopardy. And now it has emerged from the Czech Republic that the Autodromo Brno, home of the Czech Grand Prix, made a loss of 79.7 million Czech Koruny last year, or approximately 3.26 million Euros, and potentially unable to stage the MotoGP round from 2012.

According to a spokesperson of the Cardion AB MotoGP team - the owner of the Cardion AB team, Karel Abraham Sr. also owns the Brno circuit - the 2011 MotoGP race is not in danger, and will proceed as planned. The problem for the circuit is that there is a major budget shortfall for the MotoGP race, and if they do not receive support from the Czech government, they will be unable to fulfill their contract to stage the race until 2014.

The Brno MotoGP race is the only race on the calendar which does not receive state support in one form or another. The circuit receives some 19 million Koruny in support from the Brno municipal council and from the regional government of Moravia. That leaves the circuit with a gap of some 60 million Koruny to fill, and the Autodromo Brno had applied to the Czech government for a subsidy to organize the race.

The Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek had rejected the approach for subsidy, and according to the Cardion AB spokesperson, declaring that the state had no interest in supporting the race. The circuit claims his rejection is based on a lack of familiarity with the race, and also with the financial benefits the race brings to the region and to the Czech Republic as a whole. The Cardion AB spokesperson told that the race generated some 180 million Koruny (some 7.4 million Euros) just in tax revenues for the Czech Republic, and the circuit was currently engaged in lobbying the Ministry of Finance with these figures in hand.

The Cardion AB spokesperson was confident that the outcome of that political lobbying process would be positive, and was confident that the situation would be resolved. When asked to estimate the chances of the Brno MotoGP round continuing from 2012 onwards, the spokesperson refused to be drawn, saying that it was still too early in the political discussions to be able to say anything sensible. 

The 2011 round of MotoGP may be secured, rounds beyond that are as yet uncertain. But to paraphrase a famous Missourian, reports of its demise from 2012 onwards are a little premature.

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This always happens, the economic benefits are never looked at in these situations. I remember reading an article that the residents near Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca were complaining about the noise and didn't want any races there. First, they chose to live near a race track. Second, the amount of revenue it brings to the nearby businesses is huge. Just think regular price for a hotel $70, MotoGP weekend $280, now multiply that... Just an example.

The local governments should be doing what they can to attract things that bring economic growth i.e. jobs, income. So they give a little to get a lot more. That's like if I asked to borrow $20 this week and then next week I'll give you back $50. It's an investment.

It sounds to me like it;s a very empty threat... the owner of the track merely wants the gov. to back the race to close the short fall.

a loss of 3.25 Euro's is pretty small pentence for the owner of A motogp team.

still a loss is a loss and it must bite to some degree, although I must admit I don't know the extent of the Abrahams fortune.

Speaking as the largest 3rd party agent for the Brno circuit, needless to say this is all a bit worrying. However we know the management team quite well, and Abraham and Ulmanova are very sharp business people. Without having spoken to them, and pure speculation, I suspect this is a shot fired in two directions.

The recent 'deals' with Aragon and Jerez underscore an apparent imbalance in Dorna's treatment of home circuits to foreign; and the pleas of Brno serve to highlight this but short of any real accusation. Equally they want to draw attention to the Czech government of the importance of the event (one of the oldest in MotoGP and the largest single sporting event in the Czech Republic) and the danger of losing it to governments more willing to invest (apart from Spain; India, UAE and Russia spring to mind...)

There is a MASSIVE grass roots home support of the event and sport; and whilst the Czech government is as unpredictable as any; it's probably too early to be predicting the event's doom.

And as a blatant plug :-) -- help support the event -- come to it this year! It is routinely rated by fans as the best overall event of the season!

This situation highlights yet ANOTHER reason to totally sever all connections with Dorna.

" And as a blatant plug " ........ Quite rightly, it is one of the finest circuits anywhere, for two and four wheel racing, it's status raised as more and more of Tilkes " go-kart tracks " afflict racing.

Brno is one of the classic circuits. A venue I am intending to attend next year for the first time - subject to the grace of god (the missus).