Bernie looking to rake Aussie, Asian promoters over coals

There isn't a race promoter in F1 that does not lose huge sums of money because Bernie Ecclestone charges them high sanctioning fees and owns the rights to the TV revenue. Bernie's recent push to move the Asian and Australia F1 races to night was not to benefit the European fans but to line his pockets with more money.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker went public this past weekend with the claim that the move would give the event a better television profile in Europe and North America.

"If we could sell Melbourne, Australia, to another billion people, we'd consider it," Walker was quoted as saying, "The extra cost will be discounted because we'll be able to sell the TV rights for a higher amount of money."

However, the Albert Park environmental lobby said that running the Melbourne event at night would not only cause greater disruption to the city, but would also raise costs for an event already struggling to make ends meet financially.

"It's all very well for Ron Walker to say that the cost of a night event would be offset by the sale of television rights to a potentially larger audience in Europe, but the Victorian taxpayer does not own them," Save Albert Park spokesman Peter Goad told Melbourne newspaper The Age, "The television rights, both international and local, are owned by Bernie Ecclestone.

"If Ron Walker, at the moment, is still claiming an audience for his daytime race of 360 million in 132 countries – which is a wild, wild over-estimate – why would he want to pay for a night race, to increase the audience in Europe?"

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