Honda F1 website

MAY 22, 2007

Queensland sniffing

The media reports suggesting that Melbourne could give up the Australian Grand Prix are rather exaggerated, but that has not stopped the story spreading to Queensland where news-hungry hounds have found a local tourism boss who says that the region should take a look at having a Grand Prix in the future.

This has thus been translated into a full-blown bid for a race. There has been talk in recent months of a new circuit being built on the Gold Coast but no-one seems to know where the money is going to come from to pay for this. Now The Gold Coast Bulletin is reporting that tourism boss Pavan Bhatia has written to his state government, proposing that they look into an F1 event.

The state currently enjoys successful Champ Car and V8 Super Car races at Surfers Paradise. This costs the local government about $9m a year but the state argues that income from the event is around $45m, without even taking into account the money that arrives in Queensland as a result of the media coverage of the event which helps to promote the state's tourist trade. The race attracts a four-day audience of around 300,000.

Holding a Grand Prix would be a rather different matter as Melbourne has been finding out in recent years as the fees demanded by the Formula One group have risen, as have the costs of converting Albert Park into a race track (and back) each year.

Down in Melbourne detractors argue that the event is costing more and more, but few seem to have noticed that Melbourne is still pulling in more tourists than perhaps it should.