0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com

Time to kiss the GP goodbye

THE Grand Prix's future has been called into question by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who predicts annual losses will soon reach $70 million.

 Writing in today's Sunday Herald Sun, Mr Doyle says the race no longer offers the state value for money.

"My judgment would be: Get ready. Time's up," he says of the Albert Park race, which is set for March 27.

Robert Doyle writes:

TWO of my most abiding political memories concern the Grand Prix.

The first harks back to when fresh-faced premier Jeff Kennett, with Ron Walker, snatched the Formula One Grand Prix from Adelaide and brought it to Melbourne.

That should be remembered as a stroke of genius. Victoria had been the rustbucket state for years. The city was in the doldrums.

Kennett had been in power for a little more than a year and our state had not yet recovered confidence or prosperity.

And Jeff and Ron brought us the Grand Prix. Glamour. Excitement. Controversy.

The Grand Prix became one of the cornerstones of an events strategy for Victoria. That strategy today is celebrated and makes Melbourne the No.1 overnight destination in Australia.

But there was controversy: vigils, yellow ribbons around trees in Albert Park and protest meetings.

One huge protest happened on May 15, 1994, and that is my first Grand Prix memory.

There was an angry self-righteous mob baying their opposition to the desecration of their park by these machines of Satan.

And through the seething mob that Sunday afternoon strolled Jeffrey Gibb Kennett just to hear what they had to say.

Jeff tells the story of being spat on, shoved and having a child's pusher thrown at him.

The second memory is of race day itself - the first Grand Prix in 1996. After the race was won by Damon Hill, Jeff strolled insouciantly down Pit Straight. There was an atavistic guttural roar from the grandstand: "We want Jeff! We want Jeff!"

On and on it went. I think Jeffrey quite enjoyed it.

And, over the years, the F1 Grand Prix has become a staple in the packed events calendar for March.

It is a world event. It has a band of faithful followers and draws a crowd of 100,000 on race day.

We have the licence until 2015, after which there are four possibilities.

First, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will pick up his bat and ball and go home.

Despite best endeavours, the notoriously difficult, contentious and cranky Bernie will take the dollars of either an Asian or oil-rich Middle Eastern state. There will be no successful negotiation. End of story.

Second, given Ecclestone's ever more strident calls for a night Grand Prix, it will move to a purpose-built track either at Avalon or Noble Park, or possibly elsewhere Sydney or Perth.

The problem with Albert Park is that it is a 300ha park and a night race means lighting not only for the track, but also for enough of the park to provide patron safety. Too expensive. But equally, the cost of a purpose-built track is potentially $300 million and is probably untenable.

But even if such a track were built, it would not have the same romance or cachet as Albert Park. The Grand Prix would become one of those events we sometimes see out of Asia: empty stands, but a worldwide TV audience of hundreds of millions. To me that wouldn't really be an Australian Grand Prix, just a TV event.

A third option is that the race remains at Albert Park. That would require an upgrade of the park, costing up to $8-9 million.

It would require Ecclestone to accept that the Australian Grand Prix will never be a night race though, with Ron Walker's extremely able negotiation, it has become a twilight race. In its present form, it satisfies both local and TV audiences for real time and reasonable time-zone viewing. Sponsorship and advertising demand that.

The big stumbling block to this scenario is the cost to the Victorian taxpayer. In 1996 when the race was a combination of a four-day event and corporate sponsorship was far more generous than it is today, the race still needed to be underwritten by about $1.7 million. Last year it was $50 million.

Fast forward to 2015, the year the franchise ends. Though the documented benefits for the city may include hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising value, tens of millions of dollars of local revenue, an event that will draw between 250,000 and 300,000 people over three days will come at a cost that will approach 70 million taxpayer dollars.

It is the old argument: pay up front but get many times the value of the upfront payment in downstream economic benefits.

For most events that formula is persuasive. But $70 million?

The fourth and final possibility must be faced. I know of no city that has voluntarily walked away from a Grand Prix, but could Melbourne be the first?

The final possibility is that we decide that it has been 20 fantastic years, the benefits to the city and the state have been enormous, but the cycle has run its course.

It would mean we would need to replace the Grand Prix and major events don't come cheap. Nor, indeed, are there many out there that can be repeated year after year and drive the economic returns we get from the Grand Prix. We should start looking now.

In the end, it will be a government decision and one of the tough ones that Ted Baillieu faces in his first term. Does he undo the legacy of Jeff Kennett, his mentor, in his very first term and, ironically, through the same minister to first get the event, Louise Asher?

My judgment would be: Get ready. Time's up.

Offline dodger

  • Tommy Gunna

  • Joined: Dec 2009

  • Location: Melbourne
Robert Doyle is a dickhead, Ted Bailleu will keep it here.

Offline futurism

  • Joined: Jan 2009

  • Drives: Regretfully sold my GT3
  • Location: Adelaide
  • Name: David
my house is 50 metres from the track in Adelaide
bring it back to repalce the bogan 1000 and I will run naked through the streets with joy

however the weight of whingers opinion in Adelaide would prevent that  from ever happening

Offline alvchua

  • Joined: Aug 2009

  • Drives: Old junks
  • Location: Adelaide
I will run naked through the streets with joy

not sure if that would be a good enough incentive for the powers that be to bring the GP back to Adl!  :D :thumbsup:

Forgiveness is easier to achieve than permission!

Offline S4Simon

  • The Rubber King of Adelaide

  • Joined: Jul 2006

  • Drives: Something a metre high
  • Location: Not the Badlands
Okay to bring it back to Adelaide it would have to be a night race. 

That would mean we could have a 1 hour GT night race on say the Sat night and maybe a V8 night race on the Fri night, or, Clipsal would be combined as there would be plenty of time during the day to clear the way for F1 Pac, Qual, etc...

The government could make us all pay a 2% levy to help cover the costs... :?
I've been rich & I've been poor...

Rich is better

Offline futurism

  • Joined: Jan 2009

  • Drives: Regretfully sold my GT3
  • Location: Adelaide
  • Name: David
you are right about the night race part, that would be the only way Australia keeps any race the next time an agreement comes up I fear

I remember reading the lights used in Singapore are the globes out of data projectors
whenever a data projector globe needs replacing where I work, it needs 2 people to approve because they are more than $1000 each
how many did they string up around Singapore?

Offline Cuso

  • Joined: Oct 2008

  • Location: Canberra
The government could make us all pay a 2% levy to help cover the costs... :?

it's only 0.5%, but I understand what you getting at........

Offline PA

  • One man comedy gala

  • Joined: Jan 2008

  • Location: www.club-carbon.com
I remember reading the lights used in Singapore are the globes out of data projectors whenever a data projector globe needs replacing where I work, it needs 2 people to approve because they are more than $1000 each how many did they string up around Singapore?

They bought them cheap on Ebay.

Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says Melbourne could lose Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone says he's happy to talk about moving the GP from Melbourne if the mayor doesn't want it anymore.

    * Lord Mayor suggests Melbourne give up GP
    * Taxpayers hand over $249m top up losses
    * Ecclestone happy to discuss moving GP

FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is prepared to negotiate moving Melbourne's Grand Prix to another country next year.

Mr Ecclestone has said he could scrap the contract on the Grand Prix, which runs until 2015.

"If the mayor thinks I’m cranky, I can probably be able to help him by proving it. If he’s not happy with the event in Australia, if he wants to cancel the contract, we’d be happy to talk to him about that," Mr Ecclestone said on radio station 3AW this morning.

"If he wishes to cease having the event in Melbourne, I am happy to discuss that with him."

Mr Ecclestone's threats come after Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last week suggested it could be time for Melbourne to give up hosting the March event, citing growing losses and waning public interest. He concurred the event had been in Melbourne a long time.

"I wouldn’t say (the race would stay) indefinitely. We’ve stayed an awful long time. There is no reason why we should leave. It’s up to him, if he wants to talk about terminating the contract… he should talk to someone in our organisation if he thinks I’m cranky and see what he can come up with."

"I bet I should be dealing with these things longer than he is going to be Mayor in Melbourne."

In its 15-year lifespan, taxpayers have poured more that $249 million to top up operating losses.

The first race lost $1.5 million. Last year's losses almost cracked $50 million.

Crowd numbers are down from a peak of 401,000 in 1996 to a low of 286,000 in 2009.

Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says Melbourne GP not needed

by Shannon Deery

UPDATE 9.10am: FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone feels let down that the value of the Melbourne GP is being questioned, Ron Walker says.

Mr Walker, who is the chairman of the Australian Grand Prix corporation, told heraldsun.com.au this morning that Mr Ecclestone was "insulted and offended" after Mr Doyle questioned the race's value.

"I think he feels let down that a mayor of a capital city for the first time in 40 odd years would question the value of an F1 race," Mr Walker said.

"A race that is equal in value to a World Cup or Olympic Games."

Mr Walker is overseeing a revamp of the GP to give it more local entertainment focus and cheaper tickets as part of a bid to cut back costs up to $1 million.

But he said he was confident Mr Ecclestone could walk away from the event.

"He will make up his mind in 2014...there's no shortage of people who want a race," he said.

Mr Walker, who said he spoke to Mr Ecclestone "almost daily", said interest had been sparked from dozens of location including New York, and Warsaw,

"He was quite offended by those remarks and even though he has very good friends here, and is very proud of Melbourne attendances, he has many other options," Mr Walker said.

"He doesn't want people to insult the brand."

Mr Walker's said the Melbourne race was under serious threat after Lord Mayor Robert Doyle questioned its value to the city

He said Mr Eccelston had told him he would be happy to relocate the race.

It comes after Mr Ecclestone last night told German media his organisation didn't need the Australian leg of the race.

''Twenty races is enough,'' Ecclestone said in reference to this year's schedule.

''If we have some new races, some others will fall out - we don't need Australia, for instance.''

Mr Walker said Mr Ecclestone was originally confused over who Mr Doyle was.

“He has dealt with four premiers and three Lord Mayors, but he didn’t understand Councillor Doyle represents 100,000 ratepayers compared to Mr Baillieu, who represents almost five million people.”

Ecclestone has hinted Australia would be one of the first races to be axed, but is still expected to fly in for this year’s race.

The 80-year-old billionaire and his 31-year-old girlfriend, Fabiana Flosi, are expected in town for the March 24-27 event, with his socialite daughters Tamara and Petra also on the invitation list.

But he says his Formula One Management company, which controls the contracts for all grands prix, does not want to expand the program so inevitably some races will go.

Ecclestone said he had always backed the staging of an Australian round, but following Doyle's comments appeared to be having second thoughts.

The event last year cost taxpayers $50 million and Mr Doyle claimed the bill could rise to $70 million.

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
9 Replies
Last post Sat, 22 Nov, 2008 - 00:06
by Aircon
0 Replies
Last post Thu, 08 Jan, 2009 - 17:16
by mondi
42 Replies
Last post Tue, 01 Dec, 2009 - 13:17
by dkabab
26 Replies
Last post Fri, 06 May, 2016 - 15:53
by webbrowan
0 Replies
Last post Wed, 30 Mar, 2011 - 09:23
by dodger

Latest Discussions

[ Off Topic ] What do you do with the luggage in your Ferrari? mrodrigo Today at 04:29
[ Off Topic ] Sydney restaurant recommendations cel Yesterday at 22:45
[ Cars ] HEARING AIDS cjay Yesterday at 19:44
[ Off Topic ] The SA BS thread dkabab Yesterday at 19:22
[ Cars ] Maserati Gransport Keys dodger Yesterday at 19:06
[ Cars ] Spotted thread jmillard308 Yesterday at 18:57
[ Lamborghini ] Huracan Performante shack Yesterday at 18:35
[ BMW M Power ] BMW 8 Series Concept JPG Yesterday at 18:33
[ Maserati Videos ] Maserati Granturismo used as BAIT Car! Paulstar Yesterday at 14:49
[ Funny Cool Stoopid ] Jokes PA Yesterday at 12:55