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 (?é?ú22.59m / $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. Bernie needs to get over himself. It is after all the Formula 1 world championship, not the Formula 1 European championship.

    Can’t seem to tell, these days. More like the Eastern States championship. Bernie appears to be moving the races out of Europe and into Middle East & Asia.

    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.

    I know the feeling. Here in America EVERY race is at an early hour, and we don’t even have one of our own!

    As always, the only thing that matters to Ecclestone is the almighty dollar. He cares nothing for the racing, or for the fans. Shame, really, he wasn’t always like that.

    As long as he can extract/extort ridiculously high prices from venues outside Europe, this trend will continue. Personally, I think the racing doesn’t need Ecclestone.

  2. A night race in Melbourne would be particularly odd given the race has had 4 day attendances over 300,000 since 1996 (except this year, according to Wikipedia).

    Hey, lets reward the Aussies turning out to watch f1 by making it on a Sunday night so its harder to go along due to work Monday morning!

    Seems silly

  3. Although I think the Singapore GP works as a night race, and Abu Dhabi is due to be a day/night race I wouldn’t like there to be many more night races especially changing established Grand Prix such as Melbourne into a night race.

    I thought the light levels at the end of this years Australian GP were too low and that it should be put back to the old start time.

    Speaking as someone from the UK personally I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night for a few races, obviously if it was for every race like fans in other parts of the world have to put up with I wouldn’t be so happy and would be more likely to watch the re-run.

    Ecclestone can’t have it both ways, if he wants most races at times to suit European audiences he shouldn’t be reducing the number of races in Europe, but if he wants more races all around the world he should accept that some race start times won’t be ideal for the traditional European audience.

  4. I live in the US and get up early (7am) every F1 Sunday. Don’t think it is a big deal for the European F1 fans to do a few time a year. Having breakfast watching F1 has become a tradition at my house. Bernie is so senile he probably doesn’t know what time it is anyway!

  5. 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.

    Hear, hear!

  6. Younger Hamilton said on 26th October 2009, 15:26

    Night race would be very Interesting in Australia coz dat would stop complains from drivers dat the light changing coz of the shadows of the trees but wont a Twlight race be interesting as well.Would there be a Problem getting the Lighting System on the Track?

    • Yep a public investment of somewhere around 20 – 50 million bucks, on an event with shrinking attendance and massive losses each year, would be polliticlly difficult.

      On top of that Albert Park is a public park and there is a small but vocal group who have been against the race since it moved here in 96. If the gov gave in to Bernie and try to install the kind of lighting they would need it would ruin a park that is quite a nice place for 10 months of the year and add huge support to the ‘save albert park’ group.

      I like the park in GP mode, and I like to run around it the rest of the year. If you install lights you can’t take em down after the race is has been run, and that will do damge to the area.

  7. Well for me I dont see the big deal about recording the race and watch it later. Were I live (CA USA) Most of the races start at 430am and I just get up and watch it about 7am.

  8. John H said on 27th October 2009, 14:59

    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.

    So true it hurts.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 27th October 2009, 17:01

      He wants to have his cake and eat it. He needs the circuit revenue from the glorious benefactors and governments which shell out each year, but he wants the european viewing numbers to push the broadcast rights price up, enabling huge advertising sales. And just to hedge his bets, he tries his hand in emerging markets, just in case they prove more fruitful than any existing ones. His involvment with CVC has seen his role in F1 change from a developer and ringmaster into a leach that sucks on the life blood of our sport.

  9. Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 22:27

    The last two races lost AUS$40m (ÂŁ22.59m / $36.85m) each.

    Yikes. If the Brit GP lost that much money then we wouldn’t have one at all.

    If the Aussies are losing that much cash and Bernie is making himself a nuisance (more than usual, I mean) then I wouldn’t blame Melbourne for jacking it in. It’d be a crying shame because they always put on a great race, but let’s face it, with Bernie in charge he is only interested in new GPs where he can charge exorbitant fees — China, Singapore, Abu Dhabi. (Oh hang on, Bigbadderboom has just said that above)

    If we’re going to have a truly global sport where everyone is treated the same, we need Bernie out. Simple as, cobber.

  10. Platine said on 28th October 2009, 5:20

    no GB GP because FOMwont give them a break on price to find ther feet at silverstone, and they expect Aus GP to run at night when even using sunlight they lose a fortune. Id rather get up early and watch a full race, without these stupid 2hr limits so they fit into their TV slots, half points in Malaysia, ridiculous.

  11. Honestly, why bother letting us host a f1 if you want to put restraints on it.. do whats right for us and the sport, not whats right for your bank account.

    annoyed aussie!

  12. My thoughts exactly!

    Ho stil remembers waking up at 6 AM to see the F1’s at Suzuka for an amazing race?

    Th audiences and public of the races is actually worst if there isn’t that beautiful nostalgia sorrounding it!

  13. The Limit said on 29th October 2009, 3:04

    I always enjoyed staying up late for grands prix, to me its a challenge trying not to sleep before the race starts. Sadly, this years Chinese grands prix sent me to sleep after five minutes so it was a complete waste of time.
    Seriously, they should keep the Australian grands prix as it is. Having the Bahrain event as next years opener is a terrible decision! It was bad in 2006 and bad in 2010.

  14. Darren said on 31st October 2009, 22:42

    I live in Melbourne and Im so over the grand prix here now. I used to love travelling to Adelaide for the last race of the season, I got into the Melb GP when it was the 1st race of the year, now in 2010 its gonna be race 2 and Eccleston wants it to be a night race, maybe we can save on lighting and just shine the sun out of Bernies rear end!

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