MARCH 14, 2007
Melbourne considers night racing
Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker has confirmed that the organisation is looking at whether or not the Australian Grand Prix could be run as a night event.
"We are looking at it and when Bernie Ecclestone gets here we are talk to him about it again," said Walker. "He hasn't said to me that we have to do it. It's an option. It is not a fait accompli by any means. There are problems with the power grid in Albert Park. It will take a massive amount of kilowatts to light up the track for the drivers, plus there are also environmental issues."
The idea may be one that will give the Melbourne race a new lease of life. At the moment the race is coming in for a lot of criticism because of the costs involved and because the spectator numbers have been dropping. These things are, however, relative. The race is still very successful in terms of bringing in people and promoting Melbourne as a tourist destination. One can argue that Australia's tourist industry is rather flat at the moment but one must consider where Melbourne would be without the Grand Prix.
It should also not be forgotten that for most of the F1 circus, Melbourne remains the best event of the year, something which Australia should perhaps look at with pride rather than knocking the efforts of those in Melbourne.
This is not to say that there are not problems. The racing programme this year is weaker than in previous years, largely because there is no V8 Supercar event, and it is questionable whether more offtrack events at the track will bring in more people.
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