Axe to fall on Australian Grand Prix? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Axe to fall on Australian Grand Prix?

crashnet Axe to fall on Australian Grand Prix?
Sun 10 Feb, 02:15 PM

Sport's supremo delivers withering verdict on fate of traditional season curtain-raiser.

Melbourne looks set to lose the position it has held on the grand prix calendar since 1996, after Bernie Ecclestone suggested the sport no longer wanted to visit Australia.

In a significant blow to the race's future, the F1 supremo angrily declared that both he as well as Formula 1's teams and sponsors wanted to quit Melbourne, in favour of more lucrative races elsewhere in the world that would afford better sponsorship opportunities and television audiences. He also slammed Victoria Premier John Brumby for having given 'scant support' to the event.

"Maybe we don't want to be in Australia," the 77-year-old told reporters for Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun. "Our costs are very high in Australia and we get a lot less money. It's bloody bad for us.

"We've got quite a few places on the list which would like to have Formula 1, and it seems your guy [Brumby] down there doesn't want Formula 1. We can make him happy and make the other people happy."

Ecclestone added that he was under 'quite a lot' of pressure from other countries to hold races elsewhere, and dismissed speculation that the grand prix could be moved to Queensland, New South Wales or South Australia. He hinted at possible future races in India, Russia or Korea, suggesting Melbourne's current contract had little or no possibility of being renewed beyond its expiry date in 2010, its only slim chance being to follow Singapore's lead in hosting a night race.

"In Melbourne, if we were to continue to be there, we would have to have a night race - the only option," he added, underlining the fact that conditions would be non-negotiable.

"Why wouldn't we take it somewhere else [within Australia]? Unfortunately, we would have to consider the financial aspect for a start."

Last year's Australian Grand Prix lost almost $35 million AUD and, since 1996 when former premier Jeff Kennett lured the event away from Adelaide, it has lost more than $130 million AUD. Brumby has previously raised doubts about the future of the race in Melbourne, with revenue having dropped from $52.6 million AUD in 2005 to $43.4 million AUD in 2007, whilst over the same period of time expenditure rose from $66.2 million AUD to $78 million AUD.

The race is guaranteed at Albert Park for the next three years - with this year's event, to be held from 13-16 March, reported to be enjoying strong ticket sales - but the licence fee to continue holding it in 2010 is understood to be more than $40 million.

Ecclestone has yet to discuss the race's future with Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker.

Meanwhile, Queensland's government and the Gold Coast City Council are not expected to enter into talks to hold a Formula 1 race there, with Gold Cost Mayor Ron Clarke instead re-affirming his council's full commitment to supporting the Champ Car race at Surfers' Paradise.

"The Indy [Champ Car] came to us," he stressed, speaking to the state's Courier Mail. "We have a contract. In the end it's really the Queensland Government's decision because we come to it as a third party or second cousin, but I think there will be some benefits out of this for the Indy from more people coming to the state."

Race chairman Terry Mackenroth echoed Clarke's contention that any possible demise for F1 in Australia would only help to secure Champ Car's long-term future in Queensland, particularly in terms of increased sponsorship interest in the event.

"I wouldn't think the government would bid for it [F1]," he underlined. "It's too expensive. We've got a great series and people are very happy with Indy."
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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F1 to axe Australia for Russian GP

chrono F1 to axe Australia for Russian GP
Sat 09 Feb, 02:45 PM

Bernie Ecclestone is determined to scratch Australia from the F1 calendar to make room for a Russian Grand Prix in the near future, according to reports.

After Melbourne GP chiefs ruled out bowing to the F1 chief executive's demands for a night race beyond 2010, the British tabloid Daily Mirror claims that Ecclestone will now travel to Saint Petersburg to discuss holding a race in the Russian city by 2010.

The newspaper said the British billionaire will meet with Saint Petersburg's governor next weekend, and possibly also president Vladimir Putin, for talks about the building of a bespoke circuit.

Adding Russia to the Formula One calendar has been in the air for many years now but nothing conclusive has ever been presented, which seems to be the case once again.

"Nothing is done yet," Ecclestone said, "but this could be an interesting development for the sport. We'd like to get it in the calendar as soon as we can but that depends on them. It's down to how long it takes them to get the circuit ready."

Ecclestone's comments coincide with new reports in Australia that say Ecclestone has made it clear that there is "no chance" that Melbourne will feature on the calendar beyond the expiry of its contract in 2010.

Sensing that the tough stance against a night event could cost Melbourne its race might have compelled Dato Mokhzani Mahathir to declare that Malaysia is open about the prospects of erecting floodlights at the Sepang circuit.

To the Bangkok Post, he denied that Ecclestone threatened to exclude Malaysia from F1 if the promoters did not agree to staging a night race.

"No, it was never an ultimatum from Bernie where either we do a night race or get the contract cancelled," Dato Mokhzani Mahathir said. "Our current contract is up to 2010 and then last year when we were negotiating for an extension a clause was put in to the contract (to 2015) saying that we need to be ready to host the race at night."

He added that all the details have not yet been decided, but "definitely we hope to have a night race by next year."
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 04:43 PM
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For me to fly to Melbourne to see the Grand Prix it will cost approximately $3,000 for 3 days - and I live in Australia! If I attended a grand prix overseas it would probably cost me approximately 50% more. Relatively speaking the overseas race is better value for money! So why bother?

If the race is held at night then what is the advantage to the local audience? I would pay $3,000 to stay up all night so that the audience in Europe can watch the race in a comfortable time zone? Ha - to follow the F1 season now I already have to stay up all night now to watch the European races on television! I really no longer see the benefit of a local race. It is sad but it just doesn't add up it seems - for specatators, the sport and the government alike.



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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 05:34 PM
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The sanctioning fees Bernie charges are "more than 40 Million Dollars" and then he says
"It's bloody bad for us" How much does he want???? Don't the F1 teams pay most of their own expenses?? Where does all that money go to??
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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I have followed F-1 for about 40 years. To me the Australian GP is a tradition, and to see it go the way of Kyalami, SA Grand Prix would be a bit sad.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:48 PM
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I agree with Teutone. The Australian GP is a tradition and F1 should be in Australia every year. I think Ecclestone is becoming senile and therefore he's interseted more in the money than the future of the sport!
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