Recent Comments

Hugo on Eurosport beams Nations Cup matches: Really hoping Nigeria do well in this tournament b ...
Delivery Hero on England, France paired in Euro 2012: Can't wait for Euro 2012! ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Sybil, I think Man City cannot easily be di ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Bambo for the comment. I think its going to ...
Phil on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Good post, this looks like a very unpredictable se ...

Night race a non-starter

During the Melbourne Grand Prix last week there was talk of changing the Melbourne F1 race to a night one and one of the reasons given was to run it at a time suitable for the European audience and therefore increase interest and TV ratings.

I see this is as coming up with a solution for a foreign market without considering the local people. This talk was fuelled even more by the low numbers that attended this year's four day event with Saturday's numbers being reported as the second lowest and Sunday's being reported as third lowest night racing is now being touted as a solution to the dwindling number of people coming to Albert Park.

Has anybody thought of the environmental effects, safety of the fans, transport to and from Albert Park and the noise pollution to the residents of St Kilda, South Melbourne and other surrounding suburbs especially on a Sunday night? These are some of the local problems that must be considered first before thinking about some audiences somewhere.

The low numbers are due to a number reasons and this year the lack of V8 racing was a major one. The good weather on the day could also have had an effect with people deciding to do other things instead.

I am surprised that Bernie Ecclestone could talk about boosting audiences in Europe and Asia. What about Australia's audiences? Network Ten, the Australian F1 broadcaster produces a very good production of the Melbourne Grand Prix with blanket coverage especially on Sunday which is good. The problem is that this is the only race we will then see live as nearly all the other races are shown delayed. Why can't Ecclestone fight for us to get live races as well?

We don't need the European races time to be changed because European races start at 10 pm Melbourne time which is an ideal time but Network Ten decides to show these races at around 11.30 pm and the delayed race with its load of commercials goes into the early hours of the morning. The question is then why can't the Australian audience also watch F1 live?

I think this is also one of the reasons why people are getting put off by F1 because they never get to watch it live throughout the season. The Europeans may miss three races because of inconvenient time of coverage but we miss at least 16 because they are not shown live at all.

Back to night racing. Night races are not on for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's not convenient for families with young children. Imagine if the race starts at around 8 pm and you would expect it to finish at around 9.30 pm and this is on a Sunday evening. This means some people will get home as late as midnight and added to that the following day is a school day.

Albert Park is not like the MCG or Telstra Dome for example where there is train and tram network nearby and therefore its easy to leave once an event is finished. Those shuttle buses and trains are not good enough especially at night and you are talking about more than 100,000 people here.

The ticket prices of F1 must be kept reasonable and this year $99 was needed for general admission and hopefully the price will remain the same next year or maybe slightly increased to cater for inflation.

A lot of people follow V8 racing because it's local racing and a lot of people can identify with it and so this must be brought back to Albert Park to get more people past the turnstiles. You just can't ignore the importance of the V8s to the carnival.

To sum it up all, the organisers of the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix must champion for Australians to get live coverage of F1 first so that they can keep an interest in the sport throughout the season and when the it comes to Melbourne they will turn out in large numbers.

...well said, it shows the character of F1 management, Bernie rarely comes here, and whenever he shows up its all gloom. Its a European affair, and ideally they would like it to be an American affair but they cant beat the NASCAR series.

Just like the V8s, its a local affair that is easy to identify with, you are clearly right, the marketing is very wrong here...its only one race for us.

Channel 10 are doing a very poor job with the other 16 races...they just don't care...I don't know why they bother to put them on their programming anywhere...showing them in some cases 5 hours after the actual races on a Sunday ...and by the way they schedule them to start showing at 11:30 pm, they start the actual races well after midnight and goes on for more than 3 hours taking you into the early dawn hours....crazy stuff, and you are talking about a major sporting event on the calendar, its actually better to follow F1 on the internet live like through Eurosport, you wonder what TV is for, its due to lack of competition, protected free to air thing, antisiphonig list, its all messy, you can't do that in Europe, I know its a bigger market...

Australia being isolated geographically, and much less populated is always going to be disadvantaged.....and the coming of Singapore and Korea on the F1 calendar is a nightmare for Australia long term...the European audience is more important to them

Yes, I agree with you Mbareboy on Singapore and South Korea. I think Singapore and S Korea are more likely to agree to a night race given that they don't have F1 at the moment and if the F1 people come to them and say take it but it has to be night then they would have no choice. However, that will put pressure on Australia to follow suit.

Good you mention NASCAR Racing, Mbareboy. NASCAR racing is American and they just keep it American although we can watch it here if we want to but we don't have to if we don't want to. Now, if F1 supremos are mostly interested in European television audiences then they should keep F1 in Europe, and we can watch it here if we want to like we do NASCAR racing. Would the Europeans be interested in night time racing to generate television audiences in China for example? I don't think so.

Well said. I agree too about your points about the marketing of F1, the problem with F1 is that the event itself is stale, it is running on a very old formula and that combined with the lack of V8's makes it less likely fans will hand over hard earned cash to go and watch it. F1 is full of 'elitism' and that just doesn't mix well with the Australian race fan (well me for one). Personally the F1 in Melbourne is an opportunity for the rich/glamorous and famous to flash their pearly whites and bling.

Night racing would be a farce...and again you make good points about the transpot problem that is bad now and would only get worse if it was held at night.

In today's Age newspaper (21/03/2007) the Auditor General of Victoria has raised an issue about the true cost of the F1 in Melbourne. Is Melbourne getting value for money? Me I think not. Does the F1 really pour the millions of dollars into the economy as the organisers say? I think not?

Should Melbourne continue with the F1? Maybe - but it will take some big changes to get people back to the track...

I think the article you mentioned is this one. Its interesting to see that the cost of the event mentioned of roughly $28 million would increase even more with night racing.

F1 is just one of the many events in March competiting for people and doesn't deserve some special treatment. This year me and my mates had to choose between F1 and and the International Air show at Avalon and we decided to go to the air show instead. You can't attend everything and you have to choose where you think you get your money's worth and I think everybody does a similar assessment.

There is also swimming championships and there was the NAB cup final as well last weekend and so many other things with rugby league also starting. Maybe there are two many events happening at the same time and so night or day doesn't matter that much - the event itself has to be as competitive as possible and beat the competition.

Wes, I have just had a look at the TV guide to check coverage for Malaysia's grand prix. Channel 10 has scheduled that race for 10:40pm. That is well after the race has finished and maybe a good chance for F1 to argue that viewers in Australia also need to watch live F1.

Thanks Tim and what you have said is what exactly the problem is. Why can't Channel 10 show the Malaysian grand prix live or if delayed at an earlier time and what is Ecclestone and co. going to do about it? By the time they show the race there will be live cricket(Australia/England) and its easy to guess what I will be watching.

Post a comment:


(required, but not published)


Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail