Is Formula 1 coming back to Adelaide?

Any Given Reason has learnt that preliminary talks are reportedly underway with a view to bringing back the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix to Adelaide in 2016.

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

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  1. JTMILLER October 11, 2012 Reply

    "Adelaide is no singapore" no, in terms of an F1 track Adelaide is better than singapore! This would be amazing.

    • Andrew Coles October 11, 2012 Reply

      Completely agree - the Adelaide circuit is a damn sight better. I've walked the Singapore track a couple of days before the event (serves me right to plan a trip before checking the F1 calendar!) and it's not that special, I guess it has the size and backing to easily pull the event off though.

      • Ashley Smith November 25, 2012 Reply

        The Adelaide Street Curcuit is the best there is. Singapore looks amazing under lights. and so would adelaide. Melbourne does not produce "Great races", there is rarely passing in Curved Straights (which are ridiculous). Get the race back in Adelaide ASAP !!!

  2. Tom Gilbert October 12, 2012 Reply

    Wow, what a fabulous idea. Imagine if we didn't have a superfluous desal plant worth Bn$1.8? We could afford F1 License Fee's for 66 years. By the way, Bn$1.8 looks like this $1,800,000,000 and now it is mothballed while we, the tax payer, pay the interest on it. Are they on drugs?

    • Ashley Smith November 25, 2012 Reply

      Bn$1.8, the state could start it's own team and employ 1000's of people in subsidury industries, and also Host the race.

  3. Michael Terminello October 12, 2012 Reply

    Singapore are currently paying the cheapest hosting fee on the Calendar because of their night race. Adelaide could end up paying the same also due the nostalgia of F1 here in Adelaide as it was the most popular on the F1 calendar and the most profitable. Singapore in it's first 3 years saw a return profit of 337 million and continues to gain more profit. An F1 night race on our classic street circuit would be absolutely amazing and the atmosphere would be huge! I also think that the economic benefit will return us a great load of cash which our state needs. The positive benefits outweigh the negatives. Tourists will return, Smaller & Larger businesses will highly benefit from it, the Economy will grow, our city will attract foreign investors. I don't think modern F1 has outgrown Adelaide, it would make it even better. The drivers, teams and fans around the world would love the return of F1 to Adelaide. Our circuit was rated the best in the world by the Legendary Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost & Michael Schumacher along with many other drivers. Time for our great state to be put back on the map! F1 will do wonders for our state!

    PS I hope you enjoyed my Letter to the Editor in the Sunday Mail ;)

  4. Reamer October 13, 2012 Reply

    Dream on

  5. Chris November 29, 2012 Reply

    I have been thinking about this lately and it wasn't until just now that I googled "F1 Back in Adelaide" that I realized i'm not alone. Adelaide is progressing now quite steadily and by golly gosh having back to back racing with the clipsal and night F1 would be an incredible drawcard. Surely private enterprises in South Australia could get behind with funding etc!! Really hope it happens! I live in Sydney atm but i am so very proud to be from Adelaide and just wish that Adelaide can bolster its international publicity through such means as this.

  6. Anthony March 25, 2013 Reply

    of course this would result in the Clipsal returning to the old F1 layout

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