Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Albert Park, 2020

Australian Tennis Open could be “template” for F1 return’s to Melbourne – Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo has said that, if the Australian Open tennis tournament can go ahead without a rise in Covid cases, it could be ‘the template’ for a Melbourne Grand Prix.

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Stefano Domenicali has proposed rotating races on future F1 calendars to maintain variety of venues without extending the calendar excessively, but is it realistic to expect every-other-year events to be financially viable, asks GT Racer:

I can’t see many of the race promoters been open to the idea of rotating races as that sort of arrangement offers them no benefits, It’s all mostly negatives.

Lost revenue is an obvious negative but it can also be harder to promote and drum up interest in a race that only happens every other year. The promoters need a big event to promote each year as that is how they sell tickets and make their revenue, Without that they will lose money which makes it harder to continue hosting the big events.

One of the factors that led Hockenheim and Nurburgring to losing the race completely was that the alternating arrangement after 2006 hurt both venues as both were losing chunks of money due to the lost revenue, Both were finding it harder to draw in fans and both felt that was at least in part due to not having that annual big event to promote year around and both then also felt that hurt there ability to attract other big events.

Some places could maybe get away with it as they have that massive die-hard motorsport-mad fanbase, But some venues would simply not be able to sustain the race if they were been alternated on and off the calendar.

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  • 29 comments on “Australian Tennis Open could be “template” for F1 return’s to Melbourne – Ricciardo”

    1. I wonder if they could rotate races by giving, say a 6 year deal with 5 races, rather than year on / year off.

      Would free a little bit of space up for variety on the calendar and track revenue wouldn’t be as “up and down” as the year on / year off would.

      I’d prefer rotation to 23, 25, 30 races per year!

      1. It sounds nice in theory but from my experience here in the US with a couple of international sports/ competitions attempting similar it doesn’t work out too well. When an event is annual you can get local support and enthusiasm from the local community and the regional fans who will attend each and every year. When events have tried biennial schedules they tend to fail in drumming up the attention of those people in a consistent enough manner to support the event long term.

        Germany is a great example of how the rotating schedule really failed F1 already and they are not even that far apart. While you can point to any number of factors that led to the decline of the German GPs the rotating schedule almost certainly accelerated the decline.

        1. I am absolutely not suggesting year-on / year-off like Germany did, because it clearly failed and wasn’t sustainable like you say.

          Which US international events tried the 5 out of 6 years idea instead? I’d like to read into how they found it.

    2. @gt-racer, Sadly, Bernie’s ability to squeeze all the blood from a stone meant that most, if not all, unsubsidised tracks actually lost money holding a GP.

    3. Given the opportunity (yeah, right), I think that I’d rather have a go in the MP4/4 than the MCL35.

      1. Likewise.
        Give me 10 opportunities, and I’d still take the classic over the modern 9 of those times.

    4. I’m hoping they can pull it off because it’s a template in some ways for how we can get our event done in November

      What an odd thing to say, in no way is the Australian Open a comparable template for F1 as the sticking point is the two week quarantine that doesn’t fit with F1’s operations.

      Only way I can see F1 happening in November now, considering the state government is unwilling to compromise on that two week quarantine for special events, is for the hotel quarantine to be scrapped by then all together.

      1. Yeah, I was wondering about that one too, with all tennis players frustrated and stuck in their hotel rooms for a forthnight, I would hardly see this as a template of what to do @skipgamer.

      2. Interesting viewpoint – clearly from someone who doesn’t live in Australia.

        Melbourne’s original date was dropped primarily because F1 weren’t willing to do quarantine (which the tennis players and staff were) and was postponed in the hope that they won’t have to do it later in the year.
        It’s not the Victorian government that needs to compromise.
        If anyone wants to come and enjoy the relative safety and freedom of Australia, they need to abide by the local laws.

        1. erm… Not sure why you think I don’t live here, I didn’t say the gov should compromise, just that they’re unwilling to… You basically said the same thing I did in a different way.

          1. @skipgamer My apologies for the assumption.
            The wording of your post came across to me as though you feel that Victoria should have compromised their entry requirements and quarantine safety procedure to make it easier for F1 to come.

            I can’t see the hotel quarantine going away this year, and I don’t think it should. If F1 wants to come, they need to fit the 2 weeks quarantine into their schedule. They could have done it in March but they’ve chosen not to.
            Tennis agreed to it, F1 didn’t, and one of them is now guaranteed to run their event this year.

            1. @S Doing so in November isn’t possible because of Brazil two weeks prior.

            2. @jerejj
              Precisely. That’s quite the corner that F1 have backed themselves into, isn’t it? ;)
              If they still have the compulsory quarantine requirements later, they’ve lost the GP again.
              If only they’d done it in March when they had the opportunity…

      3. I mean so far, isn’t the Australian Open an example of how not to do it?
        Despite charter flights the number of positive cases is crazy for such a small group.
        Even accepting that the players were always going to go stir crazy in their rooms, just like any normal person who has had to isolate.

        1. Even accepting that the players were always going to go stir crazy in their rooms,

          They don’t just go crazy, some even test positive days into their quarantine.
          You can argue the 14 days, but the quarantine not a crazy tool to keep overseas infections out.

    5. There won’t be a race in Australia or Asia this year. Ricciardo is out of his mind if he thinks team will be willing to quarantine for two weeks for one race weekend.

      1. They’ve shown already that they aren’t.
        I’m with you – betting that the GP will probably be cancelled again.
        F1 just isn’t flexible enough. Too much easy money available in Europe, so why bother coming all the way across to the other side of the world…

      2. @Dean Franklin @S
        Bahrain is in Asia and isn’t in danger, and so are Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which aren’t due until the end of the season. Too early to also judge Singapore and Japan this far in advance.

        1. @jerejj I didn’t mention Asia. Only the Melbourne GP.

          There’s almost an absolute guarantee that there WILL be races in Asia – but probably not east of the UAE.

          1. @S My point about Asia was to Franklin but added you as part of the same thread.

        2. If we weren’t seeing new strains and higher rates than ever before I imagine Victorian govt. might have accepted a bubble. If the vaccine shows a serious impact on the numbers by mid year they’ll be more likely to lower the bar.

        3. You’re correct. In my head I think of those as Middle Eastern races despite being on the Asian continent.

          The Asian races not in the Middle East won’t go ahead. There is 0% chance.

    6. I had totally forgotten the Magnussen court matter. Not that I’d care about it anyway.

      COTD: Fair point. Indeed more downsides for individual tracks than upsides.

    7. Really stupid question here, but it’s only just occurred to me. How come there is an LMP2 class when there is no LMP1 class any more.

      Surely they should be renamed HyperCar2 or simply prototype class.

    8. Unfortunately I can’t read Danish, but if anyone can, I would be intrigued to know what figure was being claimed, and what Magnussen’s earnings over that period were.

      1. Well, I read Danish, but I am not fluent in contract-legalese, but for what it is worth (no pun intended):

        The article, and other numbers having been kicked around in the Danish press, talk about a 20 per cent stake in the gross income in the company that was formed around Magnussen by his main sponsor, Bestseller.

        What exactly constitutes “gross earnings” is a bit murky to me, but in seems to include personal sponsorship (primarily from Bestseller), Magnussen’s earnings from MacLaren, Renault and Haas, other sponsorships and a catch-all term of “other funds and loans paid into the company”.

        All in all, the figure being quoted in the court decision as “undisputed” is about 130 million Danish kroner, covering the period of 2015-2020. That is roughly 20-21 million USD, and the manager had sued for the 20 % stake of this.

        Notably, the initial contract that the manager was referring to in her claim, was from 2008. The court has noted that Magnussen was only 15 years old at the time, and his then lawyer has, as part of the case, been reprimanded for having given advice at the time that is considered “leading to responsibility on the part of the lawyer” (whatever that legalese means in human language).

      2. @alloythere Use Google translate if you don’t get an automatic translation (like I do) on the website itself.

    9. Given that even in a normal season there are normally only 2 weeks max between races (with the exception of the summer break), a 2 week quarantine mid-season is never going to work. If an event insists on it then it will have to accept that the race just won’t happen, hence the Australian GP needed to be the opening race or it probably won’t happen.

      I think the Australian Open tennis analogy is slightly off as well simply due to the relative status within the sport and the number of people involved. The Australian Open in tennis will carry much much prestige (1 of only 4 majors) than the Australian GP will within F1 (1 of 20+ races). Therefore players (plus a coach, as opposed to 50+ staff if F1) will likely sacrifice more to participate and put up with a two week quarantine if needed. I suspect that if the Australian Open didn’t carry major status (with much reduced prize money) then far fewer players would make the same sacrifice.

      I can see why F1 would refuse a quarantine since in effect a single positive test (out of 50+ team personnel) could wipe out a team from competing and that is 10% of the grid and have a detrimental impact on the overall championship. A single player missing the Australian Open won’t impact the competition integrity in the same way as it is one of 300+ players and it is a one-off event.

      As others have said, why travel to Australia and risk a restrictive quarantine when alternative races in Europe can be put on in it’s place.

      1. @chimaera2003 Spot on concerning everything.

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