The news from Australia is that Albert Park in Melbourne has managed to come to an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to extend the contract they have for the Australian Grand Prix. In recent months the race had come under increasing threats of being moved away from the track and possibly even the country if another venue couldn’t be found. However, newspapers are reporting that a five-year extension has been verbally agreed and this also include the abolishment of the night-race plan.
Autosport have reported that according the Herald Sun newspaper, the State of Victoria has verbally agreed with Ecclestone, ending the threat for another half-decade and securing the race at a popular circuit for both fans and drivers. While Albert Park isn’t the most challenging track on the calendar, the atmosphere is always reported to be great in Melbourne and the Grand Prix is very well organised.
However, Bernie Ecclestone is on a sort of mini-crusade at the moment, trying to get some races to move their event to run at night, meaning that live broadcasting would allow fans in Europe to watch at a sensible hour of the day. Currently, Singapore are due to become the first night race in Formula One history, and Ecclestone had been pressuring Australia and Malaysia.
Of course, while viewing races at Midday GMT/BST is great, it personally makes blogging difficult and doesn’t help other fans residing in other parts of the world. Even the Canadian Grand Prix, which was shown at 5pm local time to me was enough to knock me out of kilter and the report was a day late because I just became too tired to type. For the other 99.9% of European fans, night races would help, but they would also take away the magic as well. I’ve spoken before about childhood memories of waking up at silly-o-clock to venture downstairs and watch the opening race of the season while the rest of house was fast asleep.
And of course, hosting races at night further adds to the complications; lights, spectators, safety… While I’m sure the Singapore Grand Prix will go without a hitch, holding races post 5pm will surely diminish the amount of people actually at the circuit. I know I wouldn’t want to be up especially late on a Sunday if I had to go to work the following day!
Irregardless of my grumbles about messing with the races, I sincerely hope Albert Park has been able to extend its deal with Ecclestone and continue hosting great races from Melbourne.