It has been very clear for a long time that Europe is running out of promoters for Grands Prix because of the race fees being demanded by the Formula One group. The business model that is used is to force these numbers upwards and hope that the local governments will pick up the tab. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be working any longer, although this is a little strange given the amounts of money that cities/countries are willing to spend on other events. Whatever the case, the price is too high and so eventually the Formula One group is either going to have to lower its prices (without telling anyone) or convince that the teams that the future is in places like Azerbaijan. Right now, the future of the German, Belgian, Italian and even Spanish GPs look weak at best, and there is always the possibility that the British GP may get a break point in the contract and the promoter may simply decide to sit out F1 for a while. The fewer the European promoters there are left, the stronger their power because Ecclestone needs half there races to be in Europe and/or the United States (as per his contracts). This is why the European GP has been shunted to Azerbaijan because Bernie is running out of options in Europe. It looks like he’s struggling to find a promoter in Monza as well given that the current organisation SIAS says it will not pay the $22 million being asked for. Ecclestone is now casting around to see if he can find someone who will agree to rent the circuit and promote the event instead. Elsewhere, in Spain, the new mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau has let it be known that the city may not be willing to pay the $4.4 million that it currently invests in the Spanish GP, as the money is needed for other things. Ecclestone is hoping that a Singaporean developer may pay for a Grand Prix in Valencia, if it is allowed to build a casino.
One interesting scenario that has not been widely discussed is what happens if Ecclestone runs out of European venues available. The teams have to agree to drop this stipulation and it is unlikely that all would agree so his only way forward would be to get what he could from other venues (France etc) and punish those who dared to stand up and fight. This would be much the same as dropping his prices, but would keep the pressure on. The other option is to increase the F1 footprint in the US, but that would also involve the need for cheaper deals as F1 has priced itself out of the market everywhere apart from Texas (where the wallets are bigger…)