Whilst the idea is still in the very early stages of gestation and nothing is even remotely formal yet, our reliable source informs us that it is planned for Formula One to return to Adelaide as a night race in late October, and be held on the weekend before Bathurst. The Clipsal 500 would then be moved to the weekend before the Grand Prix creating a solid week and a half of motorsport action in the heart of the CBD.
The idea is to attract international motorsport tourists to Australia by offering them three huge consecutive weekends of motorsport, spreading the economic benefit of the Grand Prix around the country. They’d come to Adelaide a little early to see the Clipsal 500, stay for the Grand Prix and then head over to see Bathurst on the following weekend.
And there’s apparently a lot of major players who support the idea in theory. The state government are keen to move the Clipsal 500 away from March to somewhat alleviate Adelaide’s ‘Mad March’ problems, aided no doubt by the fact that the circuit would only need to be built once for the two events. Given that the Melbourne F1 GP has lost money every year ($57m in 2011), the Victorian Government is coming under increasing pressure to axe the race, and their contract with FOM runs out after the 2015 race. Bernie Ecclestone has also stated that Melbourne won’t have a race after 2015 unless it becomes a night race, and of funding a night race somewhere else he has said that “we would have a look, maybe we could help subsidise that a little bit”.
Adelaide is no Singapore, but just think how incredibly awesome a night Formula 1 race in Adelaide would be.
Whilst our source is a good one, these are still just rumours at this point and there are a lot of pretty huge hurdles that would need to be crossed. If Melbourne were to loose the Grand Prix, there are already a long line of cashed up countries waiting to take its place and something pretty special would need to happen for little old Adelaide to beat them all.
And then you take the cost of staging a race. The license fee alone is rumoured to be around $27m, and the funding would need to come from somewhere, presumably from the state government as underwriter. Not to get political, but the state government’s coffers are likely to shrink even further rather than grow over the medium term, and especially with a new hospital to pay for, fronting up that sort of cash to run a car race might be viewed by some as political suicide. But then again, at Any Given Reason we’d probably even vote for the Hunting and Fishing party if they gave us Formula 1…
That then brings the possibility of public/private co-funding which is the model used to pay for the Singapore Grand Prix. But finding an organisation in this financial climate with the desire and ability to help stage a Formula 1 race in Adelaide is a pretty big ask.
And finally, Formula 1 has actually progressed a long way since the Adelaide glory days of seventeen or more years ago, posing the question – has modern Formula 1 outgrown what Adelaide is capable of? Back in the day the Adelaide Grand Prix was famously the most profitable race on the calendar, but we live in a very different world now.
But either way, we seriously hope that there is some truth behind these rumours. The Adelaide race was a favourite amongst teams, drivers and spectators, and we’re sure that every South Australian with even a drop of petrol coursing through their veins would do anything required to bring the modern F1 circus back to our great state.
“The atmosphere was electric whenever the F1 circus came to town and the people of South Australia embraced it like no other and it was something we all looked forward to at the end. The party atmosphere and the circuit itself were often compared to Monaco” Murray Walker#Adelaide #Adelaide Street Circuit #Clipsal 500 #F1 #Formula 1 #Grand Prix