Fresh doubt over future of Melbourne F1 race

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The Victorian government reveals Australian Grand Prix losses.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Future of Melbourne GP in doubt (ABC News)

“The Victorian government revealed it cost taxpayers $50.2 million this year. An economic impact statement by auditing firm Ernst and Young found the event brought in between $32 million and $39 million and generated 350 full-time jobs.”

Ecclestone: I have nothing to hide

“I have nothing to hide. You know it?s a very strange system here. If someone wants to prosecute you, the prosecutor comes out and says what he thinks you?ve done. He then gives it to a court. The court will look at it and say, ‘this is a load of ——–‘ or they will say, ‘now we charge you’. They haven?t charged me.”

Questions flying over F1 sale probe (FT, registration required)

“Mr Gribkowsky told the prosecutors how he worked tirelessly on the deal, established a unique understanding of how F1 worked, believed he had got a great outcome for his employer, and that he was told that he would be substantially compensated. At the time, he told prosecutors that Mr Ecclestone had initially offered him as much as $80m.”

FIA overalls notice
FIA overalls notice

Will Buxton on Twitter

Here you go. Official FIA notice regarding overalls.

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

German GP – Conference 2 (FIA)

Stefano Domenicali: “You may say that in the pit lane, with no noise, it would be difficult for the people to perceive the passion that Formula One is all about. On the other side, you may say that Formula One has to be the pinnacle of motor sport in terms of new developments and research and so this goes in the opposite direction. I think this is something that we will discuss.”

Alonso urges Ferrari to take risks (Autosport)

“It means to be aggressive on the strategy, and don’t be too safe in terms of response to different strategies compared to the others.”

We Won?t Be On Germany Pole Says Hamilton (Speed)

“We definitely can?t challenge for pole, but then having said that, we don?t know what fuel level everyone is on. So we might be pleasantly surprised tomorrow to find that we are heavier than others, and that again brings us closer. But historically, that?s not the case.”

Problems in Valencia (Joe Saward)

“Francisco Camps, the boss of the Generalitat de Valencia, the organisation that funds the European Grand Prix in Valencia, has resigned after being indicted on alleged bribery charges.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Lots of differing views on the potential introduction of canopies or other approaches to shield the drivers. Here’s MVEilenstein’s view:

I see a lot of drawbacks to a canopy. How do you cool the driver? How do you keep it dry inside? How do you keep it clean outside? Will they have to run wipers in the rain?

The roll bar idea is appealing but the for the weight issue, and the fact that it would only stop large objects from hitting the driver.

The only way to truly isolate the driver from exposure is to surround him in a roll cage and sheet metal.

From the forum

WelshF1 wants to know why did Virgin use a Super Aguri as their show car?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt!

On this day in F1

Innes Ireland won a thrilling non-championship Solitude Grand Prix in Germany 50 years ago today for Lotus.

Only two of the 20 F1 cars entered for the race failed to appear – the two Ferraris of Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips.

Dampening the crowd’s disappointment at the absence of home hero von Trips, the 300,000 German fans saw the Porsches of Jo Bonnier and Dan Gurnery occupy the first two places on the grid. Bonnier lapped the 11.4km circuit in four minutes, 1.1 seconds.

But it was Ireland who burst through from fourth on the grid to lead at the start. He remained ahead until the penultimate lap, when Bonnier forced his way by.

Unwilling to give up, Ireland committed to a do-or-die move at the hairpin on the final lap, his Lotus taking to the grass as he scrambled past Bonnier to lead once again. Ireland, Bonnier and Gurney crossed the line separated by less than half a second.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Fresh doubt over future of Melbourne F1 race”

  1. I still don’t get what the fuss is about with Melbourne. Would the government foot a $10 million shortfall to not only create 350 jobs but also to beam Melbourne into peoples lounges around the world?

    Bar centre court at Rod Laver Albert Park is the most viewed piece of real estate in Melbourne and I think F1 does well at illustrating what Melbourne is – a very awesome city.

    1. The actual economic benefit would be higher if the promoters did a better job of promoting it. I went for the first time this year, and walking around the city centre you’d barely know the thing was on. Most people seem more interested in the first round of the AFL season than the GP. I’m comparing this to the old Gold Coast Indy, where if you stepped foot inside the Gold Coast you couldn’t help but be drawn into the event, it took over the city, that is what the Grand Prix needs to do, it needs to be the number one show in town.

      Furthermore living in Queensland the only ads you see for it are maybe a month out from the actual event, which isn’t enough time for interstate visitors to get themselves organised and actually think about going.

      In addition to better promotion they need to find a reason to have visitors stick around for longer, rather than flying in Thursday morning, and flying out Monday morning – experiencing “Melbourne’s lane ways” does not count as a reason by the way. I don’t know, maybe if they had the GP one weekend, and then the motor show the next they might get some people deciding to have a proper holiday in Melbourne for the week in between rather than just dropping in for a long weekend.

      Better support categories wouldn’t hurt either. Maybe some proper GT racing, or some lower category open wheel formula would help generate some interest. Anything but more touring cars. I mean they have just announced that in 2012 in addition to V8 Supercars, they will be having classic Group A and Group C touring cars. Snore.

    2. Sadly all the stuff that we keep hearing about the Grand Prix has all the hallmarks of an ideologically-driven campaign to get rid of the race. A bit of news here, a bit of news there, a report that somewhat undermines the argument about keeping the race (without addressing the impact of those 350 jobs on tax revenue and advertising for the city in general).

      Sadly I see them winning this one. $10m (if it really is that much) for a unique event and a fun weekend out for people is a horribly offensive idea in these times.

  2. Why are they going to put roofs on F1 cars?
    In F1 there has only been one incident in the last 15 years – please correct me if I’m wrong – that a roof would have stopped and that’s Massa 2009, but it’s debatable whether a window would have stopped the spring hitting him – it is quite small, heavy and had a high impact speed – and also a small point of contact which means all the energy would be forced onto one point of the tough surface used as the ‘glass’ and it could have easily broken through and still hit Felipe.

    What were the chances of that spring bouncing and hitting him in the head? 999/1000 times damaged body work comes off and misses people’s heads – but a transparent deflector would be sufficient to direct most bits of bodywork away from the driver’s head.

    1. What about the time David Coulthard almost cut off Alex Wurz’s head.

      what about the time Karun Chandok was nearly crushed by Jarno Trulli.

      Some times it’s the whole car, not just debris

      1. ALMOST,NEARLY, but the current configuration worked.

    2. Rosberg/Schu Abu Dabui 2010

      1. No injuries in any of these instances. Apart from one instance in Hungary 09, it never happens in F1.

        1. in F1 in the last 15 years.

          1. Agreed. Unfortunate what happened to Massa and Surtees yes, but its not as though its a common occurance in all motorsport.

            Racing will always be dangerous, all that partake in the sport are aware of this. What next, race in perspex tubes so nothing flies into the crowd?

        2. Well, if it happened at Hungary 2009, it is hardly never, eh.

        3. But there could have been…

          I agree with you, I find the canopy idea abhorrent…. But the risk is real, I know this.

          1. Should we sacrifice aesthetics for safety? This is the dilemma.

    3. Not in F1, but Henry Surtees (son of John Surtees) was killed by a tyre hitting his head in a Formula Two race in 09.

  3. Holy cow – COTD? Moi? Thanks, Keith.

    That last bit about roll cage and sheet metal is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not far off. It works well for NASCAR and other stock car sanctioning bodies. Also works well for NHRA.

    1. Nice COTD MVEilenstein! Contratulations.

      I think the rolcage thing will be most likely to be used, in some form. But its hard to imagine in an open cockpit car.

  4. With so many possible new events on the horizon, news of this situation really makes little difference. It had a good run but somehow seems a bit antiquated when compared to the new Silverstone, Singapore or Abu-Dhabi but to name a few. Bernie won’t play the money game with any organizor who is sitting on the fence. I bet he has already played his “good riddance” card and told Melbourne “see ya”

  5. Re: overalls – what exactly does 8856-2000 stipulate?

    1. Also: do we know what was wrong with their equipment?

      1. All safety equipment must be certified by the FIA. This includes helmets and racing overalls. The FIA has a list of all acceptable helmets and overalls, which they regularly update. In order to prove that it is approved by the FIA, all protective gear is marked with a seal of approval (for want of a better term). This seal of approval must be embroidered into the collar of the racing overalls; however, some of the teams have been using racing overalls with the seal screen-printed onto the collar instead, which is illegal. It may sound like a very minor thing, but in order to be approved for use by the drivers, the racing suits have to undergo rigorous testing (for example, they have to withstand certain temperatures for a set amount of time). Screen-printing the stamp onto the collar is a problem because the logo can come off, particularly over time. In the worst-case scenario, the screen-printed certification comes off, the driver has an accident that triggers a fire, and because the emergency response teams have no idea if his overalls are approved for use, they need to get him out of the car straight away without assessing the potential for injuries, and moving an injured person can only make things worse.

  6. Mike Griffin
    23rd July 2011, 1:17

    I’m amazed that a label on drivers overalls can get you excluded from a race. Its just completely mental. I get the need for the label, they had the flipping label, it just wasn’t embroidered. Jeeez…

    1. Screen-printed labels can come off. Embroidered labels can’t. Just take a look at any t-shirt you have with a screen-printed image on it – odds are, it’s starting to peel away, especially if you’ve had it for a while.

  7. Alonso has really been pushing the ‘we need to take risks’ line in the last couple of races. I think he’s trying to get into Vettels head and make him fear them. Almost like he’s giving Vettel fair warning that he won’t think twice about taking him out because ‘we have nothing to lose’. – I like it!

    1. By this single comment you have completely reignited my admiration for Alonso.

      Never thought about that before, but i agree, oh i love theese mind games.

      It has to keep Vettel aware – when he sees Alonso racing in his mirror, knowing he’s got nothing to lose and willing to take him out, then as David Coulthard said – that message could have only been scarier if it was delivered in the dark. :)

      1. Indeed, very good to see Alonso piling the pressure on Vettel, he started doing it in Monaco, basically as soon as he knew the car could be in competition.

        Alonso has seen this year that he, Button and Hamilton, and even Webber on occasion, have been able to pressure Vettel; Button won a race by doing it, last race Red Bull fumbled and helped Alonso win, and maybe strategically in China too, helping Hamilton to a win.

        It certainly can’t hurt to be more adventurous – if they stay conservative they won’t win enough to get a WDC so in that sense there isn’t so much to loose, and it is good to have Vettel know it and be worried about close racing Alonso or the McLarens (both help Alonso, as they keep Vettel from optimizing his own points).

        1. History suggests that staying conservative (Button 09) works.

          1. And Alonso in 2006 as well.

  8. Great news,I don’t want Valencia to come back in F1,but also they need to keep Australia.

  9. I think it should be Dan Gurney not “Dan Gurnery” in the third to last paragraph.

    Love the website! Keep up the great work Keith! This is my only stop for F1 news.. now if only there was a :)

  10. wow talk about f1 in the media, in Australia??? And the race isn’t next week. Definitively a slow news week here. maybe if the media talked about Webbers accomplishments it might look better. Melbourne is a great sports city, to any one who has never been their; you have got to see it! the MCG, Rod laver, the list goes on…bars are good too!

  11. Re: Overalls

    It’s odd, the one thing that has been bugging me is why Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India seemed quicker yesterday in practice… Now we know!! It was the overalls all along!! I can’t believe we were so stupid that we thought Red Bull could be beaten!!

    Seriously though, how can overalls be breaking regulations? The only thing I can think of is if they are too light and the combined weight of the car is under the minimum weight limit? Keith?? Any ideas?

    1. Clearly, they’re running a double diffuser on their backsides. Unfair advantage.

      1. And there’s a nitrous oxide bottle tucked away where the FIA won’t see it!

        1. I volunteer to tell Alonso where he can shove his nitrous oxide bottle where it won’t be found! lol ;)

  12. Adelaide is a better place for the Grand Prix mainly because people in Adelaide actually go and see it. It’s more accessible and it’s a better event. But F1 is too expensive nowadays so there’s no chance of F1 ever returning.

  13. The Victorian government saddens me. I spoke of this earlier in the year, the Australain Grand Prix organization is to blame for this. For the past 10 years they have slowly moved the event from a fan orientated spectacular into a corporate wonderland. They are setting it up to fail, Ron Walker and his people need to get their feet back on the ground and start looking at better ways to fund and organize this event instead of just soaking up the benefits. A perfect example of this is the Senna movie premier last week. One fan won a competition to attend the event, beside a few motor racing legends, the rest of the people attending the event were high profile stars with no relievence to the event, the fans just were not considered. If Melbourne wishes to keep the GP, it must look at permanent infrastructure, better organization and better publicity. They cannot continually sit back and allow the media to target the negatives of the event. The true enthusiast will attend every year (as I do) but the average Joe sickened by the bad press and media just won’t go.

    1. Most movie premieres are like that. The aim is to generate media interest in the film just before audiences are allowed to see it. Getting slightly famous people arriving at the same place at roughly the same time attracts the media like moths to a flame.

      1. But with the internet, having local F1 fans create a buzz from having seen it surely also is a relevant thing to do? Why else did the last Harry Potter film, for example, have a big party in London with loads of fans present?

  14. To back up my comments above, the Australain Grand Prix organization has announced a ladies lounge for the 2012 event. In a fanatical response to this on their Facebook page the women have revolted saying they’re out of touch and girls go to the race to watch the racing and smell the fumes, not to get there nails done.

    1. but they will still go.

      Just like the garnier (spelling) at teh aussie open till a few years back. 98% girls, 2% guys dragged by wifes/girlfriends to it.

      If they just sell the naming rights and flog some merchandise for whoever no one would care, infact it many women would love it.

  15. I’ve just written up some thoughts I’ve had about the benefits of “only” qualifying in 18th, and how I think the benefit of having fresh tyres available outweighs the benefit of making it into Q2 and qualifying higher up the grid.

    Basically, I’ve thought ever since I saw Webber go from 18th to 3rd in China, and then Kobayashi and Heidfeld starting races from the pits and getting points, that with the current qualifying format making it into Q2 (and using up more sets of tyres) is almost a penalty. What Algesuari’s done in the last few races backs this up.

    I think that either drivers who go out in Q1 need a set of options taken away, or any drivers who make it to Q2 need an extra set of options (or primes, up for debate on these points) so that qualifying 18th over 17th doesn’t reward you.

    For some extra stats and more thoughts, I’ve written up the article at

    Love to know what people think about this!

    1. You make a valid point but from the organisers point of view this adds a little handicap to the front runners giving back-markers a little help to mix it up with the midfield or in the case of China a fantastic performance to watch as a top driver has to carve his way through the field. I don’t think they are going to change it for exactly the reasons you state.

      1. The thing is though, it doesn’t usually affect the front runners at all. The only people they really overtake are the teams they’re on an even-ish keel with. Algesuari’s qualified behind Buemi (usually only by a couple of places), but absolutely blitzed him in the race because of an extra set of options.

        In China, Webber admitted himself he didn’t actually enjoy it all that much because he didn’t really have to fight for any of the places, he basically coasted past most people.

        My point is that you should never be rewarded for finishing in a lower position. I actually crunched the numbers before, and the average finish for the 18th man is higher than 12th, 11th and even 8th! Granted many other factors come into play, but it’s ridiculous in my opinion that the benefits of qualifying 18th in terms of having fresh options available are so strong.

        1. Never actually finished the first para there:

          “…extra set of options on multiple occasions. It’s usually a similar situation. Heidfeld started from the pits in Spain and ended up ahead of Petrov who reached P1, which Petrov was furious about.”

    2. Rough spreadsheet containing the data to back up the wall of text for any data junkies:

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