IOC head Rogge impressed by F1 organisation

Last updated 16:11 09/07/2012
Bernie and Jacques
Getty Images
MEETING OF MINDS: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone (right) with IOC President Jacques Rogge before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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IOC President Jacques Rogge visited a rainswept Silverstone on Sunday and suggested the Olympics could learn a lot from Formula One.

He made light of the wet weather, which left fans sheltering under umbrellas and capes at the British Grand Prix, possibly casting a raincloud over his Games when they open in London in less than three weeks' time in a stadium without a roof.

"I am living in Belgium, so whatever rain comes to Belgium is left over from England ... no, we'll manage," the International Olympic Committee head told Reuters with a smile.

The British summer has proved a nightmare for Silverstone organisers, with tens of thousands of fans asked to stay away on Saturday to allow repairs to churned up and rain-soaked fields that serve as car parks.

Water-logged campsites produced huge traffic jams on Friday as campers were unable to get vehicles into the fields and clogged up approach roads.

Rogge, a guest of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, diplomatically swerved around the 81-year-old's recent assertion that a London Grand Prix would be "better than the Olympics".

"I respect his ambition, he respects mine. I want to make the Olympic Games the premium event in sports, and he wants it with Formula One," he said.

"We want to go faster, higher, stronger. It's exactly the same mind of Formula One, going faster and better. We have the same pursuit of excellence."

Ecclestone, accompanying the former Olympic sailor on a visit to the pit and paddock complex, chuckled when reminded earlier of his own words: "We're not going to get on to that subject," he said.


Formula One may be a sport whose image is far from enviromentally friendly and where money and technology make all the difference, but the governing International Automobile Federation has been a part of the Olympic family since January.

Formula One will never be a part of any Games, although the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be followed by a grand prix in the Russian Black Sea resort using some of the facilities as a legacy project.

McLaren's 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton will run with the London Olympic torch on Monday while Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes did so on Sunday and brought his into the paddock to show off afterwards.

Rogge was impressed by the organisation he was shown.

"There's a lot that we can learn from Formula One. We have many similarities, it's a sport with great competitors who prepare very hard," he said.

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"I've been through the organisation this morning with Bernie. I went to the broadcasting centre, the pits, and everything is very well organised. Believe me there are a lot of things we can learn from the organisation here."

Rogge, whose former marketing director Michael Payne now works with Ecclestone, also took the chance to praise the London Olympics organisers ahead of the Games opening on July 27.

"They have respected the deadlines, they have stayed within budget, and they have shown a lot of creativity in everything they have done," he said.

"We're coming to a nation that invented modern sport in the second half of the 19th century. We're also coming to a nation that has included sport in its school curriculum, and it's a nation that loves sport, knows sport, and that will show."

- Reuters

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