Melbourne contract extended but no night race

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The Australian Grand Prix will remain at Melbourne until at least 2020 but will not become a night race.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

New five-year, $250 million deal to keep Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne (Herald Sun)

“[Premier of Victory] Dr [Denis] Napthine said the contract ensured Melbourne’s Grand Prix would be the first race on the calendar every year until 2020, and that there would be no night racing.”

Niki Lauda begrüßt Ecclestone-Deal (Suddeutsche Zeitung, German)

This report claims Bernie Ecclestone will pay a $100m (£59.6m) settlement to end his bribery case in Germany this week, significantly more than what was previously reported and over twice as much as the $44.1m he is alleged to have paid banker Gerhard Gribkowsky as a bribe.

Kamui Kobayashi Q&A Part 2 (Crash)

“Do you feel like [the stewards] don’t pay enough attention to what happens further down the grid?
Yeah, exactly, this is always a problem. During qualifying, with traffic, it’s another story. If we are doing green sectors but some top team affects us they don’t care.”


Comment of the day

An offbeat Caption Competition prompted some imaginative and very funny suggestions. I particularly liked those from Neil, Uzair Syed, Martin Fuhs, Graham228221 and Cjpdk.

But the winner was this offering from JackySteeg:

“Just grin and bear it, Nelson. You’ll be lucky if this is the worst thing Flavio tells you to do.”

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today

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On this day in F1

Two years before his dreadful crash on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Niki Lauda put his Ferrari on pole position for the 1974 race, held on this day four decades ago.

However he went out on the first lap after a collision with Jody Scheckter. The latter continued and finished second but Lauda’s team mate Clay Regazzoni won, moving ahead of both of them in the championship battle.

The race was marred by a nasty accident which left Mike Hailwood with leg injuries that ended his F1 career.

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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52 comments on “Melbourne contract extended but no night race”

  1. Great news about Australia then :D

    But I cannot help but think that in about 3 years time there will be somebody suing somebody over the ‘first race on the calendar’ thing. That’s the sort of thing that they wouldn’t stick to.

    1. “Bahrain have offered a lot more money to be the first race again…” (although this would only happen once the strife has been calmed down of course).

  2. Melbourne confirmed until 2020 – good
    First race on the calendar until 2020 – good
    Not a night race – good

    Pretty happy with that outcome :)

    1. And even with all the noise from the race promoter about the lack of noise, they still made the deal.

      I am glad they did, look forward to Melbourne every year!

      1. So am I, on looking forward to the Aus GP

        1. Same here, already have my tickets booked and paid for.

    2. @George I agree with that, Albert Park is the best venue for the first race and, unlike BIC or Shanghai, it looks beautiful in the daylight as well, there is no need to have another F1 night race there.

      1. I hope they continue to play with the time, a true dusk race would be nice, right as the sun’s setting, then boom big lights come on everywhere towards the end just because. Even just once, to try it out. I think it could draw bigger crowds that way.

        It would allow for the weather to come and go too, which can be a problem in Melbourne.

        1. While its a nice idea, this year after the race i didn’t get home until 9pm, and with my 9 year old in tow with school the next day, any later and its going to be too much to take kids or they miss school the next day.

          1. Excellent news on the extension until 2020 and even better on the no night race thing. Bernie didn’t get his own way this time!

  3. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
    4th August 2014, 0:56

    So proud of Dixon as a fellow kiwi, but horrified by this article in the LA Times who calls him an Aussie!

    They steal enough of our sports stars as it is without the US giving them credit for even more! :)

    1. They probably just assumed he was from the mainland. ;-)

    2. You know what they say about US and geography. ;)

      1. Hey! Pavlova is ours! We only take the best from you… Dixon has better luck than Power

  4. Poor Hulk, he has such a bad history in Melbourne and will have to keep visiting it! =P

    1. Or maybe he’s due a result ;)

  5. I wish it was a night race. They look great, and are easier timezone wise. Asian races should be later in the day, American races earlier in the morning. Nothing ridiculous because local involvement is important but a bit more of a transition would be nice.

    1. Maybe Sunrise races in the Americas, Sunset in Asia. To make best use of this the American and Asian races should change places in the year.

      P.S I know Australia is not in Asia.

    2. West coast US here, nearly all races are on at crazy hours. That’s OK, I watch them anyway. Only Brazil and Austin are on at decent hours here. Don’t mind Melbourne’s race time, around 11pm Saturday and I’m up anyway.

    3. @theo-hrp, we may have your preferred setup down here on the east coast of Aus; As all Asian races are late afternoon (excl singapore) and the American races are early morning. :)

    4. I understand why people prefer using a single time zone but just to be awkward I like the oddness of early races. I have made weekends out of inviting friends over to sleep, or stay up all night and we all get up at some idiotic time in the morning to watch a race. That has been part of the excitement and charm.
      On the night races I find the lights harsh, there’s no characteristic to the track and everyone looks a bit shell shocked! I watch Le Mans through the night and love it, but part of the charm is they have headlights, the night driving is part of the challenge, and its amazing watching the sun come up over the track, but I don’t get that buzz with F1 night races. I am pleased that Australia has stuck to their guns on this one.

      1. But just to be awkward I like the oddness of early races


    5. All races are on at a bad time for somebody, I don’t like night races but even if I did I would find it unacceptable to spend the money and accept the damage to Albert Park that setting up the lighting towers would entail and the Greeny/Nimby mob would be apoplectic, get a PVR and watch when it suits you.

      1. Agree a temporary circuit that has very little night light as it is. Its an unnecessary and complicated cost. The late afternoon race is just fine.
        Commuting home from a night race would also be a major PITA, i get home late enough as it is after the race.

  6. Bernie still came out ahead by leaps and pounds…

    Let’s see, payoff to Gribowsky – millions, payoff to the court – millions, lawyers fees – millions, billions into Bambino – priceless!

    With charges dropped (rumored at this point) Bernie will probably try to stay in the F1 driver’s seat until they have to pry the golden goose, errr…. steering wheel out of his cold dead hands. Just think he could be around maybe another 10 years or more…

    Maybe Bernie can make one last deal in F1 before he is done. He could sell to Disney! Of course CVC will make their cash (with a few more billions to Bernie on the side). The only other requirement is that Bernie gets to star in a new Disney film as an aging brilliantine Peter Pan…

      1. So Bernie figured it out, simply call it a ‘settlement’ rather than a bribe and everyone is ok with it!

        You have to see this happening to believe it, what a world we live in.

      2. @peartree – Ha ha, that he’ll be around forever… Lovely! lol

        Of course there is that other thing he said that starts out – Every time they think they’ve got me… … …, – and ends up with something about – hands not big enough..

        Oh, Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one thinking that bernie is getting let off a bribe by bribing them with a pathetic amount of money now the first bribe has made him a billionaire!

      What a farce!

  7. One day late, but Barrichello won the nervous Brazilian Stock Car’s Million Reais Race by just 0.186s. It was his first win in the category.

    Here you can see him celebrating and crying with his son in the first video and the race’s highlights in the second.

    1. I was just about to ask “Did he cry?”

    2. Some good names in that race!

  8. Good news about that Australia GP deal, and it seems they got relatively decent terms too.

  9. Lauda has also told the German newspaper that “it would have been a disaster for F1 if Bernie had had to [quit his job].” He claims that continuity is important and that Ecclestone is the only one, who “knows everything”.

    Perhaps Lauda does not really mean it but it sounds awkward and does not make sense. Firstly, no one is irreplaceable and if F1 is currently so dependent on an 83-year old man, then it should start looking for alternatives immediately because even if Ecclestone keeps running the sport for now, his time will run out rather sooner than later. Secondly, even if Ecclestone avoids jail, his reputation is still going to be further damaged as he should have proven that he is innocent.

    1. Thanks for highlighting that part @girts. I noticed the same thing this morning but did not get to writing a comment about it. Surely Bernie is on the way out with or without this deal, its just a matter of whether it will have to be done messy and very fast or just relatively quickly and trying to do it with as little fuss as possible.

  10. In my country there is old saying: What can’t be bought with money can be bought with more money. Bernie seems to know it very well :D

    1. @nidzovski I assume you’re from Bulgaria? :)

      1. @klaas you were close. It’s Macedonia :D

  11. @keithcollantine any chance you could hold off on posting other series’ results? I had the Indycar race recorded and was planning to watch it today, and now it’s been spoiled :( Or at least let me know the policy so I know whether or not to do a complete media blackout before I finish watching any race.

    NBCsn has the bad habit of announcing F1 results during the Indycar races too and it frustrates me to no end. Are they not aware that people may be interested in more than one form of motorsport!?


    1. yeah i agree im an indycar fan but i watch it on youtube a few days after race. a few times the result has been spoiled, i still watch it for the racing but could you @keithcollantine put a spoiler alert or something same with formula renault 3.5. ps you do a fantastic job on this site :)

    2. @pastaman I appreciate the feedback. I always find this a bit hard to empathise with as I’m rarely in the position where I’m trying not to find out something. I can’t remember the last time I did, partly because I feel if I haven’t seen it live merely not finding out the result isn’t enough to recapture the excitement. If I was in that situation I suppose I would make a point of avoiding the internet entirely.

      I don’t put ‘spoiler alerts’ on F1 Fanatic partly because there’s no way of knowing how long I need to use them for (24 hours? 48? A week?) and partly because they’re irrelevant to those who’ve seen the race or wouldn’t watch it anyway. But mainly because I think if you’re trying to avoid finding something out, it’s up to you to decide how to do that. Sorry I guess that’s not the answer you were hoping for!

      1. @keithcollantine thanks for the reply. No worries, guess I’ll just have to cut out this site before I watch the races.

        I am rarely able to see races live, I would say 95% of what I watch has been recorded. Especially F1, as being in the US means I need to be up at the crack of dawn to watch any European races.

        I’ve seen some sites just put an expand/contract button with news that could be a potential spoiler. That way if you want to read it you just click the button, otherwise you can continue on your merry way scrolling down the page

  12. I am wondering what the real cost is for the extended hosting rights for Melbourne. The Hun (Aussie pejorative for H-S) have just used the published net cost to the government for hosting the 2013 race and multiplied that by 5 as though the amount on the dotted line paid to Bernie is the only cheque they have to write for the entire weekend (lazy journalism at its best that everyone expects from The Hun).

    Victoria’s Premier Denis Napthine is facing an election on 29 November and is expected to lose. The cynic in me thinks he’s pushed ahead quicker than required to get a result out before the election is announced to get some political momentum ahead of the main campaign.

    As for the time, 5pm AEDT is the absolute latest it should begin. Everyone in the world should have to set the alarm a couple of times during the year. It is a WORLD championship. Share the pain.

    1. I think even 5pm AEDT is too late to be safe, and would prefer if they started an hour or even 2 earlier. For me it always gives a special feeling to kick off the season really early in the morning, before my family gets up and then even manage to get back in bed or make them breakfast after the race @kazinho

  13. Is simply paying a large fine a normal way to get out of punishment for a crime? I am no law expert, but this seems strange. If I decided today to start committing credit card fraud and raked in a couple hundred grand, I would go to prison. What is different in Bernie’s case?

    1. Your mistake would have been, you haven’t been thinking big enough @lateralus. Had you conned the banks out of several billion, and managed to hide those somewhere clever, than maybe you could get such a deal as well!

  14. Great news about the Australian GP, that’s always a wonderful event. Albert Park is nice, I just wish it was still in Adelaide.

  15. the skwirrell
    4th August 2014, 16:16

    night races – no thanks
    bring back the good old days, when races were held at 2:00pm local time. best for the locals and tv audiences can adjust their recording devices accordingly, if they don’t want to watch the races live.

    as for F1 needing Bernie, well, what what a joke; never before have the punters and circuit owners paid so highly. time to throw the bambino out, with or with out the proverbial bathwater.

    lastly, as someone else said; Bernie says: Think before you bribe.

  16. Thank god Australia keeps its race, a good track and the races are always interesting and exciting. As for it not being a night race, good. When Singapore came onto the calender I enjoyed the novelty of it and the gimmick and appeal of racing during the night, now every track seems to be linked with becoming a night race nowadays. Bahrain looks nice under the lights but other than a little tussle was an otherwise boring race in my opinion.

    Bernie pays money to get out of a criminal case for paying money. Money.

  17. I’m glad to contract of Melbourne without night race.

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