An Aerial View of Alber Park, home of the Oz GP

An Aerial View of Alber Park, home of the Oz GP, photo by Tim Serong

Die hard F1 fans often claim that getting up in the middle of the night to watch the season opener from Australia is something they actually love, something that’s become a tradition since the first season opener at Melbourne in 1996 and many when the season started in Bahrain in 2006 said it simply wasn’t the same.

 

Bernie Ecclestone of course understands that the sport relies on the large number of casual fans not the relatively few die-hard fans and he therefore  wants a night race in Melbourne: meaning it is shown on TV live  in the afternoon in Europe. Bernie presiumably likes the spectaacle of night races as well though and there is the argument that he wants to make Formula One huge in Asia, hence the increased number or races there, Asian fans of course would have to tune in at night if the Australian race was put on at night. Maybe what Bernie really wants then is just another night race following the success of the Singapore race in part due to the atmosphere that is created and comes across even on TV.

 

Melbourne has a contract until 2015 to host the Austrlaian Grand Prix but Bernie Ecclestone has recently said that the Australian Grand Prix is the least viable of all current races and that “If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia”.

 

Ecclestone has also said that “We have other races ready to take the place of Australia – which we don’t want to happen,” many have criticised Bernie Ecclestone for chasing the races willing to pay the most reather than those that attract the most fans. With the Australian race being popular for the quality of the circuit and the racees it produces a change to the calender to bring in a new Tilke deisgned circuit in its place is unlikely to go down well with fans; what Bernie’s real objectives are may not be as clear as ‘improving the sport for fan’s that he claims is what he wants with a Oz GP night race.