Mar 122008
 

There’s a lot of to-do about this weekend’s F1 season opener at Albert Park.


I’m amazed, but not really surprised, that Melbourne organisers are prepared to allow Bernie Ecclestone to manipulate their event in order to line his own pockets. According to Wikipedia, Ecclestone still pockets 23% of the total television rights take from F1 broadcasting around the world. Whether that figure is accurate or not is hardly relevant when one considers that Ecclestone commands F1 as if it’s his very own plaything, despite other sporting and corporate bodies having as much or greater input its operation, and revenue from it.
While we here in Oz tend to miss out on the thrust of what F1 is, the personalities and technology, I feel it’s hardly politic of Ecclestone to roll into town on the eve of the 2008 season opener, demanding that race organisers here change the start time of the race on Sunday to suit optimum television viewing times in Europe. In fact, I think it’s downright arrogant. Not only that, he then proceeds to demand that unless Australia provides facilities whereby he can have his cash-cow run at a time to suit his financial requirements, he’ll not allow options to extend the contract with Melbourne organisers beyond 2010.
In short, why the fuck should we here in Oz have to kow-tow to a European viewing audience, because a greedy entrepreneur says so? Motorsport events are traditionally held in the afternoons, past the heat of the day, when most people are able to get along to the venue and partake of the atmosphere. Not at a time, which is either after sunset, or worse, in the wee hours of the morning. Certainly, endurance events over 12 or 24 hours do occur at night, but normally only using tin-top cars which come fitted with headlights as standard. Certainly not high-tech, purpose-built, four-wheeled missiles designed strictly for daylight racing on racetracks where night racing just doesn’t happen.
Why the fuck should the Victorian, New South Wales or indeed, any other State government which might want to host an F1 event, have to bend to the will of this arrogant pom. Why should any government have to spend massive amounts of tax-payers hard earned to light up a purpose built race track, just so he can increase his revenues? I see Morris Iemma is ready & willing to bend the NSW tax-payer over over & ram one up ’em. We’re I a NSW resident and voter, (which I’m so grateful I’m not) I’d be making damn sure Morris understood that my arse was intended for shitting out of and if he attempted to spend my money on Bernie Ecclestone, the shitting I’d be doing would be all over him (Iemma)!
Singapore might be prepared to run a night race, and that’s well & good for them. As an avid follower of motorsport, I don’t see the sense in this country altering the status quo of an event which has been running very well, albeit at a financial loss, on a Sunday arvo for more than 20 years in two cities, just to appease the money-grubbing desires of Bernie Ecclestone.
So we lose the F1 event. Big-Fucking-Deal, I say.