Bernie to Baillieu: you signed F1 deal, don't complain

Formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone has taken a swipe at the Victorian government, telling it not to complain about the price of staging the race after signing a deal.

Mr Ecclestone, speaking amid an ongoing row about whether Victorians receive value for money for the race, refused to discuss how much the state pays to keep the event in Melbourne.

Victoria has a contract to host the event until 2015.

This week, media reports emerged that the state paid $30 million a year to stage the Australian Grand Prix. The government has so far refused to confirm the figures but said the reports would make future negotiations with Mr Ecclestone more difficult.

On Wednesday, Tourism Minister Louise Asher said the present $57 million subsidy was too high.

"We think the taxpayer subsidy is too high and there are two issues here, one is the fee given to Mr Ecclestone and the other one is the total taxpayer subsidy for the event and the fee is of course part of that," she said.

But Mr Ecclestone would not comment on the reported $30 million figure – "maybe it's not a true figure," he said during a cagey interview on radio station 3AW – or the contracts signed with the state government.

The octogenarian Mr Ecclestone said of the race's future in Melbourne: "It's up to them isn't it? It's up to the people who are responsible. I can't make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will."

However, he also said: "They shouldn't complain after they sign."

While he praised the Melbourne event and said he was hoping to attend this year's race, Mr Ecclestone said he had "no idea" what the government meant by saying it wanted a better deal.

"If they're happy with what they've paid for the event to take place, I'm very happy," he said.

"We'll have a look in 2015."

This story Bernie to Baillieu: you signed F1 deal, don't complain first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.