Melbourne Loses Financially Again—But Where Else Can Hold a Race?
The Australian Grand Prix released its financial statement this week, to another loss, this time to the sum of 3 million and 40 million for the Victorian Government. This may seem disturbing to most, but what other venues in Australia and New Zealand can hold a race if Melbourne bails out of it's contract?
Mount Panorama, Bathurst
Possibility Rating: 2/10
The Holy Grail of Australian Motorsports, Mount Panorama plays a major role in Australian Motorsport history. The circuit plays host to an annual V8 Supercar endurance event, the "Bathurst 1000". This event attracts huge crowds, with many camping ontop of the mountain.
The Circuit itself is picturesque, with the climb up Mountain Straight, the run ontop of the Mountain, the descents from Skyline into the dipper and forest elbow, onto the longest straight in Australian Motorsport, Conrod Straight, before The Chase. These are just several elements that make Mount Panorama in Bathurst New South Wales what it is today.
However safety may be a huge factor with many blind spots, several major incidents have happened in the four years, with one death, and many major injuries. The circuit is dangerous and daunting in a tin top, let along Formula One cars.
Hampton Downs, Waikato
Possibility Rating: 3/10
Currently under construction, Hampton Downs is located in Waikato, between Auckland and Hamilton, on New Zealand's North Island. Hampton Downs is set to be a motorsport park with two separate circuits, which can be combined as a large circuit.
The Motorsport Park is set to house 80 apartments along with a hotel, swimming pools, tennis courts and a restaurant. The circuit has signed with World Superbikes to host races form 2010 onwards, and is designed to FIA category two regulations. The circuit is designed by Apex Circuit Design, who were responsible for the Singapore Street Circuit. Formula One may not be looking too much into New Zealand though.
Eastern Creek Raceway, Sydney
Possibility Rating: 5/10; 7/10 if finances were not bin current situation.
Eastern Creek Raceway located in Sydney's western Suburbs has gone through a rough road in recent times. The circuit has been dropped in favour of a Sydney street circuit for an annual V8 Supercar event. Located near industrial areas, a motorway and a Reservoir, night Racing would be possible if wanted.
However the possibility of a Formula One race won't be possible in the near future, as the New South Wales State Government has many transport developments on hold due to financial blowout. The circuit is located in new Premier Nathan Rees electorate, which may bring the possibilities even further back, as he has been opposed to this plan from the start, in stark contrast to former Premier Morris Iemma.
The circuit is also owned by the New South Wales state government, which wont help either. The circuit recently had undergone a circuit feasibility study by Apex Circuit Design's, in which proposals would include major re profiling on the circuit and a change in direction.
The proposed track has been given a FIA Category One regulation, which puts it in line for Formula One. The circuit will be the only permanent circuit in Sydney as Oran Park Raceway in the South West closes in mid 2009.
Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, Surfers Paradise
Possibility Rating: 6/10
Surfers Paradise recently hosted a non- championship round of Indycar. Though the race has been in doubt since the Unification between Indycar and Champcar. Organisers want want late October date, whilst Indycar wants a date to be back to back with the Motegi round.
Plans to have V8 Supercars running by its lone self have been proposed, but the Queensland State Government has not approved of this, due to revenues that could be made. Formula One would be ideal for the Queensland Governments situation, however, the circuit may not be safe enough.
The fast chicane riddled circuit has held CART/Champcar and now Indycar races since 1991. Formula One would be a spectacle to be seen on the streets of Surfers Paradise. One thing is for sure, the circuit wont be boring.
Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide
Possibility Rating: 7/10
Formula One held races at Adelaide from 1985 to 1995, until Melbourne took over the role of the Australian Grand Prix. The tough challenging circuit proved to be an exciting circuit with many championship deciding moments over its years as host of the Australian Grand Prix.
Currently the circuit has been used for V8 Supercars on a shorter track layout in which hosts the "Clipsal 500" yearly. This event has shown to be immensely successful. A return to Formula 1 may be un-called for with the success of the V8's running. The circuit will be undergoing a face lift for the 2009 event.
These are all posibilities for future races in the Southern Hempisphere if Melbourne chooses to bail out. For sure there are many more possibilities of circuits "Down Under" but these would be the main contenders. Whether these will become reality though, we will only have to wait and see.
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