Ecclestone still wants Australian night race

Bernie Ecclestone got the Australian Grand Prix promoters to run their Grand Prix as a ‘twilight race’ this year to suit European television audiences better.

But he’s still pushing for the event to be turned into a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix. He told the Herald Sun:

The later we can get the race, the better it is for us. Ron (Walker) and I are talking about all these things.
Bernie Ecclestone

It’s hard to see how the race can started any later without the track needing artificial lighting, which would be a huge expense. The last two races lost AUS$40m (??22.59m / $36.85m) each.

Twilight races bring problems of their own: if a race is delayed the onset of nightfall means there’s no time left to get it finished, as happened at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

And several drivers were unhappy with the low light levels at the end of this year’s Australian Grand Prix.

I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect every race around the world to be held at a time that best suits European viewers. Particularly in a country where there’s more than enough local interest to support the race.

If Ecclestone is that keen to keep European television audiences happy he should re-think his policy if reducing the proportion of races held in Europe.

Twilight and night races

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52 comments on Ecclestone still wants Australian night race

  1. The thing is, when we had morning practice in Singapore, the setting looked absolutely beautiful. Then the night came down and all we saw was a Tesco car park circuit at night.

    Twilight races, yes, but for Abu Dhabi and Singapore, not Australia and Malaysia. I’d rather get up early. There are always re-runs shown at sensible times anyway.

  2. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 25th October 2009, 23:29

    If i was an Australian, i would be livid about this…

    • Terry Fabulous said on 26th October 2009, 0:04

      Australian: Tick
      Livid: Tick

      • damonsmedley said on 26th October 2009, 5:31

        Agreed! And another thing: the late starting Grand Prix (Melbourne) was almost impossible to watch towards the end from the grandstands for the mere fact that the sun was setting and it got in our eyes.

        The spectators thought it was bad but we musn’t forget the drivers had to race F1 cars in that light. It would be very difficult to select an appropriate visor for the race because at different points of the circuit the light was completely different! So a tinted visor would be good when driving into the sun but when driving away from the sun it would be very dark.

        And I am sure that the Europeans can endure one late night/early morning for a change, after all, we do it for EVERY Grand Prix other than our own.

      • Hamish said on 26th October 2009, 8:17

        Agreed. From a fans perspective being from this part of the world (New Zealand) this is ********. F1 is very much seen as a world sport, therefore it should cater to the world if it wants to grow. Fact is, with the season occuring all around the world everyone is going to get the short stick eventually in regards to viewing times, and europe currently gets in pretty sweet.

      • same

        It wont happen…

        so what if europe has to watch 1 race at a weird hour…us Australian F1 fans have had to follow our sport at ungodly hours forever…now that is commitment!

        If you love the sport you do what you need to to…

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2009, 19:48

          Of course, but Ecclestone isn’t after more hardcore fans (they’re harder to find and there’s fewer of them) he wants the casual audience.

          • Bigbadderboom said on 27th October 2009, 16:55

            Thats the truth, he is selling advertising space after all. It’s all abot the broader appeal, and although us fanatics may spend a bit more on merchandise, Bernie is chasing viewer numbers, thats what sets the price of the product.

  3. I live in Perth on the West Coast of Australia – closer to the european time zones and a state with buckets of cash from the resources industry. Bernie should be talking to the govt over here about a race to replace Melbourne with. A Kings Park GP combining the best of Spa AND Monaco? Look up Kings Park Perth WA on Google Earth and see for yourselves – we could have an awesome city street circuit here.

    • Stealthman said on 26th October 2009, 14:03

      I live in Perth as well, and the thought of any world motorsport taking place here plasters a grin on my face.

      Kings Park has some great roads, and F1 cars racing around them would be awesome, but realistically it would never happen… namely because of the fact that Kings Park is essentially a nature reserve.

      Ah well, we can dream… :D

      • Chalky said on 28th October 2009, 10:24

        There seems to be plenty of land around Barbagallo for development. But then that’s not in the current F1 \ yatch \ marina \ new circuit thing is it.

        I wonder if using Tecpro barriers at Bathurst would make it a F1 possible venue?

        • Stealthman said on 28th October 2009, 11:07

          Ah, Barbagallo… There were plans for extending the track to keep the V8s there, but an F1 venue… probably never. Infrastructure and accessibility are two big stabs in the back for that track :(

          On the subject of Bathurst… Tecpro barriers wouldn’t be enough, I fear. If the Australian GP were ever to take place at Bathurst, they might as well flatten it. :P The FIA’s elevation-change regulations for new circuits to F1 would not agree with The Mountain at all.
          Still, if they were to relax the rules and put Bathurst on the calendar, I’d probably die a happy man. :D

          • MPJ1994 said on 29th October 2009, 9:57

            That would be my dream. Id love to just once see 20 F1 cars going through The Cutting, McPhillamy, Skyline and down through the esses, but i know there no chance of that ever happening :(

            There is however talk of building a short circuit at Bathurst. It would use the start finish straight, go half way up Mountain Straight, cut through the middle, across Condrod, lots of track alongside The Chase, before rejoining at the exit of the Chase and following the main circuit through Murrays and onto the pit straight. I dont know if they will ever build it but if they do it is said that it would be suitable for F1, MotoGP and Superbikes.

          • MPJ1994 said on 29th October 2009, 9:59

            Heres the link to the Bathurst Short Circuit design http://www.touringcartimes.com/news.php?id=3868

  4. Another Aussie, I live in Melbourne and have been to the GP 9 times. Bernie needs to get over himself. It is after all the Formula 1 world championship, not the Formula 1 European championship.

    Just move it back to a 2pm start and accept that the Europeans will have to watch F1 at a screwy time of the night once or twice. The rest of it do it every fortnight for 7 months of the year!

      • Harv's said on 26th October 2009, 2:38

        Amen! living in NZ means im up at 1am in the morning every race! I like the australian GP because I can watch it BEFORE i go to bed! Hey Bernie!!! there are people outside of Europe who also want to watch the races, so how about leaving one or two of the races alone for them?

    • inc0mmunicado said on 26th October 2009, 4:34

      Bernie one day will wake up and think F1 should cater to the American viewers and make European races as twilight/night racing!!!

      Imagine the uproar!

  5. manatcna said on 25th October 2009, 23:54

    No to twilight races
    No to light bulb races
    No to street races (except Monaco)

    And I’m with you Nik – I’d rather get up early
    Or I could use my DVR

  6. macahan said on 26th October 2009, 0:17

    I think this is entirely silly and stupid by Ecclestone. Leave the times alone if Europeans for a change get to go up at 7 to watch a race what will that kill them? Being a European living in the States there is only 1 race now that is “convenient” for me now that Ecclestone killed US and Canada races. If he wants times good for European television then why does the stupid man insists on putting more and more races in Asia? There seems MORE interest in F1 in North as well South America then in Asia and TV times would be very convenient for the Europeans. Run the race at 1 or 2 pm and you will have it show on prime time in Europe.. That means good time for 2/3 of the world which I think have 3/4 if not of all F1 supporters…. Ohh well just one other thing that Ecclestone put in his mind. Lets scorn the US and Canada audience after all that is just the most important market for the manufacturers they are not important to F1 we all rather want small independent teams to lead the pinnacle of motorsports.. Ohh well at least Mosley is gone.. Maybe in another 5 years Ecclestone will be gone and things might be put right….

    • Maccafan said on 28th October 2009, 13:51

      Because he is greedy, shrewd and uncompromising. He likes the idea of Asian sponsorship and revenue deals and realises most of the fan base is European based. He (F1) probably doesn’t pay anything like the money to stage races in Asia compared to Europe or N.America.

  7. wasiF1 said on 26th October 2009, 0:45

    “If Ecclestone is that keen to keep European television audiences happy he should re-think his policy if reducing the proportion of races held in Europe”.

    I agree Keith,he should add the French GP,along side Austria & San Marino.Having too many night races will not be good.We are already having two.Twilight races are not good for drivers & spectator as many people only saw 180 km of racing in Malaysia this year.

  8. Dear Bernie. How about we – the Australian F1 fans who shell out the $$$ every year to attend the race – tell YOU when WE’D like it to be run. It’s OUR race, afterall, which we have been running quite sucessfully for many years, without your interference. So until WE tell you we’d like changes to be made, please butt out and go join your buddy S&Max in retirement somewhere.

    • donwatters said on 26th October 2009, 17:21

      Well put, Peril. I don’t mind arising early each morning on race weekends (US). It’s just the price you pay to enjoy the best sport in the world. I’m sure most Europeons (except the French)wouldn’t mind it either.

  9. How can they say they want a better time for the european audiences when at the same time kill the brittish gp? I have lived in europe until 2 days ago and I much prefer having thre Oz gp at 7am, it is not too early a start and it still allows you to do something else for the rest of the day, so keep the time as it is.

  10. If Ecclestone is that keen to keep European television audiences happy he should re-think his policy if reducing the proportion of races held in Europe.

    I totally agree. It infuriates me that the races are all geared to the European TV audience. If Bernie really wants to grow grow audiences elseware in the world, then how does he expected to do it with no races at a decent time for them to watch.

    If us Aussie fans are willing to watch the vast majority of GPs at bad times, I am sure that more than a few Europeans would do the same for just a couple of races.

  11. I wouldnt mind a night race in Melb. Sure it makes a loss here, but Im paying tax anyway, so i may as well benefit from something :)

  12. iceshiel said on 26th October 2009, 3:17

    A night race is pretty. But I shudder when I think of the environmental impact. So much for making motorsport green.

  13. Rikadyn said on 26th October 2009, 4:14

    I dunno what Bernie is talking about, the Australian GP has always been a night race (US start time was/is like 11pm…)

  14. Disappointing. Every time Formula 1 reschedules a race to accommodate European viewers, the message I’m getting is, “We don’t want Americans to watch F1.” Here in California, I have to get up at 4:30am or (more likely) miss the live broadcast.

  15. Prisoner Monkeys said on 26th October 2009, 6:26

    Formula One had traditionally been a European sport.

    While I would have no problems with a night race here in Australia, I think Albert Park provides a bigger problem: how they’re actually going to light it. In both Singapore and Abu Dhabi, the lights are right at the edge of the circuit, but Albert Park has wide run-off areas in places. I suppose you could always have large multi-directional stadium lights like the do on the bottom half of Yas Maina, but there are a lot of trees around Melbourne, and it would be difficult to eliminate unwanted – and potneitallydangerous – shadows.

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing the cars at Surfers Paradise. The Australian GP could once again be the last race of the season. I just watched the V8 race there, it’s a good track, it’s nice to look at, and it’s about 50m from the beach,

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