Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Australia to lose F1? - Bernie Ecclestone isn't keen on the Albert Park timezone

Published by Mr. C

Mr. Bernard Charles Ecclestone appears to be painting himself into a bit of a corner when it comes to the number of Grand Prix races he's looking to run, versus the rather inconvenient constraints posed by the Gregorian calendar.

From 2010, Bernie has committed to a race in South Korea. Herman Tilke has been busy designing a brand new track since the middle of 2006, and assuming the FIA approve the track and facilities, that's where Formula 1 will be racing in three years time.

In addition, aside from the two extra venues added this year, in 2009 both India and Abu Dhabi will join the calendar (approval pending).

All this leaves Ecclestone the unfortunate problem of fitting everything in.

Mark Webber, Kylie and Dannii Minogue at the Australian Grand Prix

There's a general reluctance from the majority of teams to substantially increase the number of races in a season, but another option would be to drop an existing race or two, and this would probably explain why the man hit the Australian GP organisers with both barrels yesterday.

Speaking about Victorian Premier John Brumby and the event over which presides, Ecclestone said:

Our costs are very high in Australia and we get a lot less money. It's bloody bad for us. We've got quite a few places on the list which would like to have Formula One and as it seems your guy down there doesn't want Formula One. We can make him happy.

- Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie went on to state that plans to stage the race outside of Melbourne were out of the question and that the only way for racing to remain in the continent, would be to follow Singapore's lead by staging a race under floodlights:

In Melbourne, if we were to continue to be there, we would have to have a night race - the only option.

- Bernie Ecclestone

Well, why didn't he just say so in the first place?

I'd certainly miss the Australian race if it were to go awol, although probably less so now that the Fosters Girls have been replaced by something less 'dynamic'. The country has been featured since I started watching Formula One, but I get the impression that yesterday's outburst is little more than an opportunity to twist the knife.

So, what do we think - a gentle poke to ensure European audiences no longer have to get up in the middle of the night, or a serious threat that could spell the end of F1 down under?