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Formula I Grand Prix « Previous | |Next »
March 6, 2003

It is good to see having a go at the public subsidies for the travelling circus for petrol heads. Nobody will really listen though, for many find the Formula One very seductive indeed. Something to do with glamour and the identification with machines.

In his Wednesday subscription email Stephen Mayne bounces off a little report in the Financial Review by Michael Cave about the Grand Priz being a by-product of burrning money. Mayne states:

"Most of the media is focusing on the glamorous side of the Grand Prix, even though it is becoming a bigger financial basket case every year and losses will probably top $10 million for the first time this year.

Crikey hears that it now costs an incredible $18 million to put all the infrastructure in to run the race. When dodgy Bernie Ecclestone is pocketing a similar sized fee, how on earth can the event ever stop the losses which have now topped $74 million since 1994, according to the Fin. Throw in an additional $50 million spend on Albert Park for the first race and there is no way the race can be justified on a cost-benefit basis.

Then there is the moral issues. The global tobacco industry spends about $600 million a year sponsoring Bernie's circus. This means the Melbourne race is sharing in about $35 million of this when it clearly goes against the ban on tobacco advertising."

The public subsidy for a circus was no different in Adelaide when the former free market Olsen Liberal Government was in power. The Bracks Government makes the same justification ----all the visitors who flock to the state spend lots of tourist dollars.

Those who lived near the race track---as I did---detested the circus, the noise and the sleeze. I always suspected the dodgy economics that always showed millions upon millions of tourist dollars pouring into the state. These dollars somehow never made a difference.

All this for a race that is won in the pits!

The Olsen Government would not let Adelaide's Parklands be. The parklands were seen as a resource to make lots of money. They were not making enough. money as they were empty. They had to pay their way big time. However, no real money was ever put back into improving the Parklands. They just suffered, recovered and slowly deteroriated. My sympathies are with the 'Save Albert Park' group. No doubt they will be dismissed as a bunch of nutty greenies.

But they have a similar point to my own---if Adelaide or Melbourne want the Formula I circus, then the race should be shifted to a purpose built track, rather than spending millions in putting temporary structures up then pulling them down. Such rationality is beyond the state governments of South Australia and Melbourne.

Meanwhile Stephen Mayne does what we did when confronted by rev heads trampling, urinating and voimiting over everything---clear out for a couple of days the madness is in town.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:40 AM | | Comments (2)


It's amazing how far the sound of the cars travels, isn't it? I don't have much time for Forumula 1 either. Sure, the drivers are very skilful but like a lot of big corporate sporting events, it doesn't excite me too much. One thing that annoyed me when i was living near the track when the last Adelaide 500 was on was the continual flypasts of the fighter planes. Now, after living near Parafield airport i was used to planes continually flying overhead, but they don't make quite as much noise. Nor do they give any approximation of how terrifying it must be to live in an actual warzone. I could not believe how close the jets were flying to our house. When the first one came over our cat was even more terrified than us and would not come out from under the bed for hours.

Hi DJ,
yes I find the helicopters awful. I was out gardening one year ands they hovered overhead for an hour or so. The noise drove me mad--I wanted to shoot them out of the sky.

Yeah had the same experience with the roaring jets when out walking the dogs in the parklands. They were bastards -top guns showing off.

Another year the army tanks used to race around the streets near Hutt Street. Crazy stuff. A form of madness.