In the round-up: Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is open to the idea of converting the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park into a night race.
Making Melbourne a night race “could be attractive” – Domenicali
The Australian round of the championship has always been held at one of the most inconvenient times for television viewers in Europe, with have traditionally made up the bulk of audiences. The start time for the race is 3pm local time, which is 6am in Britain and 1am Eastern Time in the USA.
Speaking at a SportNXT conference on Wednesday, Domenicali said he would be open to the idea of moving the race to a night race to make the start time more Europe-friendly. “We’ve discussed about it. Why not?,” Domenicali was quoted as saying by The Age. “It’s a matter of investment.
“It could be attractive. When you’re planning for so long, you can really think what is the best to create new products. You never know. It would be important to understand the implications.”
However, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott – who will step down after this year’s event – believes the current race time suits the city. “Because of the attractiveness that each single city provides and contributes to the championship, Melbourne’s place as an afternoon race on a Sunday works beautifully,” he said. “But you never say never in Formula 1.”
Gasly unsure whether fourth DRS zone will aid passingPierre Gasly says the addition of a fourth DRS zone for this year’s Australian Grand Prix could be a positive for the circuit where overtaking is relatively difficult.
A fourth zone was added last year along the lengthened Lakeside Drive straight up to the turns nine and ten chicane but was removed before the race due to safety concerns. The zone has been reinstated for this weekend.
“I think it’s going to be interesting,” said Gasly. “We know obviously that Melbourne is usually a very difficult track to overtake, so if you can increase the overtaking opportunities, increase the racing, make it slightly more entertaining and a bit more racier on that track, I think that’s definitely positive. But it’s not guaranteed. We’ll see in practice what we get.”
Piastri reveals turn as Kvyat’s ‘grid kid’
Oscar Piastri has revealed he held the Russian flag for Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat before the 2015 Australian Grand Prix as part of the grid kid programme.
“I was here last year as a reserve driver, and I was here, I think, 2015,” he said. “I was a grid kid, actually for Daniil Kvyat, so I was holding Daniil Kvyat’s flag, and he broke down on the lap-to-grid, so I never actually got to see him. But it’s pretty special to have someone holding my flag this time but hopefully I have better luck.”
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Motor racing links of interest:
Stefano Domenicali is against free practice - The comment by Gian Carlo Minardi (Minardi.it)
" If we talk about formats, I am convinced that the entire programme could be focussed on the days of Saturday and Sunday. The Friday could be left at the disposition of the fans and the much acclaimed show. Domenicali is right: the public wants to see the action and currently Friday is more “tired” also on the ticket sale front. Because of the high cost of the tickets people do not want to or cannot lose a day of work for Formula 1 and so they can concentrate the efforts on the other two days."
Meet Hannah Schmitz - McLaren Applied Female Engineer of the Year Award winner (McLaren Applied)
"Will (Courtenay, head of strategy) and I discuss every race in detail. We talk over everything with the whole department, everybody gives their opinion. We also talk to the race engineers, who might have different opinions on what went right and wrong. But there’s never any blame. It’s more, ‘let’s just talk about it.’ You never feel defensive and are open to sharing ideas. It’s a good environment and many people end up staying at Red Bull a long time. It’s a really nice team."
Lewis Hamilton says it 'could take a long time' for Mercedes to compete with Red Bull (BBC)
"When you're driving, you feel like you're sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you're driving a car. If you were driving your car at home and you pulled the wheels right underneath your legs, you would not be happy when you're approaching the roundabout. What that does is it really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict compared to when you're further back and sitting more centred. It is just something I have really struggled with."
Are e-fuels the miracle that will save the combustion engine? (Motor Sport)
"Of course what some are hoping is that by the time the exemption comes into force in 2035, the technology will be have been upscaled sufficiently for e-fuels to become both affordable and widely available, so that you’ll be able to switch from bad old fossil fuels to good old e-fuels and, like the engine in your car, scarcely notice the difference at all."
The race is on for the grand prix of party invitations (The Age)
"One billionaire husband and wife philanthropists and business executives who will attend are Paul Little and Jane Hansen. Little is the chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, who is tasked with finding a successor to Westacott, who announced he would leave after the staging of this event, which will remain at Albert Park at least until 2037."
Car Physics Simulation Model and Assist Settings Changes (Update 1.31) (Gran Turismo)
"Improvements to the car physics simulation model and assist settings have been made with Gran Turismo 7's Update 1.31. Please see below for details."
MotoGP 23 Announcement Trailer (Milestone via YouTube)
The upcoming MotoGP game features dynamic weather, flag-to-flag rules and a more narrative focused career mode.
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Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:
Former FIA #F1 race director Michael Masi, who was removed from his position after his error in applying the rules during the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP influenced the outcome of the world championship, is back in the paddock at Melbourne – here he is with @PierreGASLY.#AustralianGP pic.twitter.com/4fRfUKe1JC
— RaceFans (@racefansdotnet) March 30, 2023
Support categories kicking off today's racing action 🚘👍#AusGP pic.twitter.com/s7wWZxljCk
— F1 Australian Grand Prix (@ausgrandprix) March 30, 2023
There are 60,832 people at Albert Park today to see Supercars and Porsche Carrera Cup. F1, F2 and F3 don't even appear until tomorrow. What an amazing bill they've put together here #AustralianGP
— Sean Kelly (@virtualstatman) March 30, 2023
If the FIA was serious about equality in motorsport it wouldn’t be carting F3 & F2 to Australia this weekend but rather making F4 as affordable as possible with a proper prize fund structure up to F1
— Ben Evans (@bencommentator) March 29, 2023
Love the humour @GvanderGarde ! I remember well when you walked in the paddock in Oz to hopefully being able to drive the Sauber. You even had to use @Ericsson_Marcus 's racing suit for the seat fit if I remember well. Crazy days… https://t.co/HY14GtHxFf
— Julien Simon-Chautemps (@julien_sc) March 30, 2023
A Mag’s best friend 🐾
Kev got to meet Snowy from @AssistanceDogs in the paddock today and they got along pretty well 😊#HaasF1 pic.twitter.com/UdRxtZnVLz
— MoneyGram Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 30, 2023
2015 Aus GP Grid Kid ⏩ 2023 #AusGP F1 driver 🇦🇺#OP81 #F1 #RoadToF1 pic.twitter.com/WYD2L3Xt2d
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) March 30, 2023
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- Find more official F1 accounts to follow in the F1 Twitter Directory
Comment of the day
With the FIA reminding teams that celebrating on the pit wall fencing is technically prohibited, @jerejj is bemused how teams have been doing so for years without any issues…
Since a rule against fence climbing has existed since 2006, the FIA should’ve started enforcing this rule from day one rather than only now.
People should generally do something about things sooner rather than later, as doing something later minimizes the argument’s validity.
Besides, no one has ever ended up in danger over this long-time tradition of celebrating mechanics & or other team members climbing on pit wall fences, so again, FIA unnecessarily clamps down something trivial & or generally safe.
Happy birthday to Yuri Kofman and Shortstick1!
On this day in motorsport
- Born on this day in 1956: Kevin Cogan, a winner in IndyCar racing who made two unsuccessful attempts to qualify in F1 with RAM and Tyrrell in the early eighties
March on RaceFans
A selection of RaceFans’s top reads from last month which you might have missed:
19 comments on “Making Melbourne a night race “could be attractive””
31st March 2023, 1:52
A night race – not an option!
Leave Formula One alone, it has sunk far enough!
31st March 2023, 2:18
Quite a few people in Melbourne F1 management and Victorian government are in support of the idea.
Nothing wrong with it. Day race or night race makes no difference, so why not?
31st March 2023, 7:17
@S Wrong based on past attempts that failed because organizers were against the idea.
31st March 2023, 9:42
You think I made that up, do you @jerejj?
Melbourne Grand Prix Corporation is made up of many individuals, as is the (ever revolving) Victorian Government.
Just yesterday, in fact, I saw a TV news article showing an interview with one of the local lead organisers saying exactly what I commented above – that they are looking keenly at moving to a night race format.
31st March 2023, 16:28
One concern is that is very common some rain at the track a few hours are the current reca time.
So, a night race would be commonly a wet – redflag filled – race.
31st March 2023, 3:42
As someone who loves in Melbourne I also hate the idea of a night race here. European audiences can deal with the race being on at a bad time for once, since we only get this race, Japan and Azerbaijan on at a reasonable time in Australia. Also it’s nice to enjoy racing during the day at the track and be able to go out in the city in the evening.
31st March 2023, 7:24
@RatSack Don’t forget the LV GP (& Chinese GP when that happens).
Your point about Europeans is valid, although less unideal further east.
31st March 2023, 4:30
NO! Why should every races need to be at convenience time for Europe and US viewers?
31st March 2023, 5:39
That proposal was already on the table a while back & rejected by the organizers, so I doubt their tone would change.
Besides, I like morning races.
The fourth zone is unlikely to improve passing into the high-speed combination that’s never been an overtaking place.
Another COTD nomination.
31st March 2023, 5:58
Most night races on the calendar suck.
Pretty much all the middle eastern races would be better if they were run 12 pm midday in the heat.
Singapore would be more interesting as it would be more likely to be wet and may warrant the return of monsoon tires if Sepang was also re-added to make it more justifable along with Spa, Suzuka and sometimes Melbourne, Monaco, Canada and Silverstone.
31st March 2023, 6:54
I have to agree with Ben Evans, I’ve heard nothing of the W Series since they said they were looking to secure funding? (unless I’ve missed something)
Obviously it seems to have gone, but either nobody involved wants to talk, or nobody cares / wants to listen. Considering all the bells, whistles, words, opinions and fireworks about an all female series at it’s launch to just slip away and nobody notice just a couple of years later, seems a bit sad to be honest.
31st March 2023, 7:01
A night race makes the even not very family friendly, leaving the track takes over an hour then getting on public transport home adds another 40min or more. If the race is held in it current time of year the race would need to start at as it stays light well into the evening so 8pm or later, giving a 10pm finish, tired kids getting home at midnight, all so Europeans can sit in their lounge during daylight hours. Awesome!
31st March 2023, 7:21
@theoddkiwi With this weekend’s race day sunset time of 18:12, starting at 19:00 or even 18:00 would be enough.
Darkness doesn’t arrive at Melbourne’s latitudes as quickly as in the Gulf/Arabian Peninsula region or Southeast Asia, but quickly enough for darkness to arrive during the race, especially with the 19:00 option.
20:00 with pre-clock change sunset times.
31st March 2023, 9:49
It only needs to be 2 hours later, and it’ll be starting just about on sunset……
Hardly suddenly “not family friendy.”
Who cares if there’s still a bit of light in the sky? The circuit lights would be most prominent shortly after race start, just as with other twilight races.
You might not have considered this – but many Aussies work weekends, and wouldn’t be the slightest bit upset if it started a couple of hours later. That would move it perfectly into prime time, actually…
31st March 2023, 12:05
Since the days when the Australian GP was the first race of the season I’ve looked forward to waking up at 4 or 5 on a Sunday. It was actually an event for me, after months of waiting for a new season. And today still, the early morning AUS GP is for me mentally the real start of the season. And it’s very agreeable to wake up early for me, and finish the race before the wife and kid wake up. So no, we Europeans don’t need a night race in Melbourne. And to all aussie F1 fans, if you really have to watch most races on a Monday morning, you are better people than me for staying F1 fans, I’d have let it go long ago.
31st March 2023, 9:09
Oh poor darlings, one race on at 6am, boohoo. Try most of them on at crap times for us here (in Australia), like for example on Monday very early morning – it sucks.
31st March 2023, 9:56
I’ve got friends in Melbourne that aren’t really F1 fans and I’m fairly sure hearing the noise from the cars late into the night won’t exactly convert them either. I don’t think a night race would show off the city as well as a daytime one either so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
31st March 2023, 12:28
Meanwhile us Australians have a total of maybe 3 races per season which could be considered convenient. Still, we get through it! I was amazed how many people were at the circuit today. It almost felt like a race day. I can’t help but feel F1 has done a great job of attracting families. Anecdotally, there seem to be more women and children attending the track. I feel like this may be undone by running the race at night. I had a great time today with my 4 year old. No chance I’d consider taking her for a night session. For that matter, I don’t think I’d be particularly keen either. Catching trains home late at night with the usual city drunks? No thank you…
31st March 2023, 21:04
You make a great point, but F1 doesn’t care about you or your kid or common sense or decency. It only cares about money, and your money is worth less than pay-per-view Europeans. When the on site attendences then go down, it is a good reason to drop the Australian GP altogether in 2027, because it is surely ‘past its peak’ and was, to be fair, also a bit inconveniently far away for F1’s sustainability quest.
Comments are closed.