March 12, 2013

Australia ... you can keep it


Almost everything in Australia is out to get you ... © Getty Images

Welcome to Australia. Everything here wants to kill you.

Whether it’s the giant spiders of doom, the hungry dingoes, or the bright glare of the cancer-causing sun, everything in Australia wants you to die. Lest you think you’re safe in the water, let me remind you of great white sharks, sting-rays, and rip tides.

Everything here wants to kill you.

Despite that (and the painful flight to get here), Australia has a booming tourist trade. Every day, people slink off their jumbo jets, stretch out their spines, and head for one of this massive island’s many attractions. One such attraction is the Australian Grand Prix, held in Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Well, we’d like to think it’s an attraction, but if you cast your eye over the local newspapers you’ll soon learn that the GP is something Australia endures. Sure, the tens of thousands of people who walk through the gates over the course of the race weekend appear to enjoy themselves, but if you believe the newspapers, F1 is a money-grabbing bogeyman designed to gouge Victoria’s public purse.

Guys, if you hate us so much, we’re perfectly happy to stop coming. After all, Australia needs Formula One more than F1 needs Australia.

It costs an absolute bomb to fly Down Under, no matter where in the world you’re coming from. Thanks to the exchange rate, Melbourne hotels are more expensive than Monaco. At least in Monaco you can stay in Nice, in Ventimiglia, in Menton. In Melbourne you’re pretty much restricted to staying in, ummm, Melbourne.

It’s not just hotels that bleed your wallet, either. Even Australian wine is more expensive to buy over here than it is overseas, which is something that has never made sense to me.

And it’s not like the teams benefit much from being in Australia. While we’re no longer a manufacturer-heavy sport, and the whole ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ shtick is little more than a tired adage, Australians buy Fords and Holdens. Neither brand has an F1 team. So what exactly are we selling?

No, the main beneficiary of the Aussie race is Australia, specifically the state of Victoria. TV coverage designed to sell an image of glamour is beamed into hundreds of thousands of homes around the world, prompting some of those watching to add Melbourne to their list of must-visit destinations. They buy into the glamour, they book their tickets, and they spend in Australia, whether or not F1 is in town.

Far from being the race everyone loves to attend, Melbourne is the race that – off the record – swathes of paddock people would love to skip if they could. But as the season-opener, that’s simply not an option. So lots of us time our flights to arrive on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, and depart in the early hours of Monday, saving on the over-inflated hotel costs and restaurant bills.

And when we do get here, we’re reminded of just how much we’re not wanted.

So Melbourne doesn’t want us. Fair enough. We’re too expensive, we add little of value, and we destroy the precious public resource that is Albert Park. But let’s flip that rhetoric on its head for a second.

Australia, you’re too expensive. You add little of value to the F1 calendar, and you don’t buy our cars. Everything here wants to kill us. So why should we keep on coming when Mexico and Thailand are keen to take your place? Convince me in the comments.

Comments

Posted by anne on 15/03/2013

I would personally take China and India off the Grandprix calendar .. Horrendous places to go.. Keep Australia, but it is the cost of getting there for the teams and the expense in Melbourne.. .. Not all of us can watch the races , Not unless you now pay for Sky in the UK .. BBC is now only showing certain races!!

Posted by Matt on 15/03/2013

The problem with cost in Australia is not Australia, our economy is doing fine. Europe on the other hand has had a rubbish economy for years and hence the exchange rate has shifted. Lift your game a bit and Australia will appear cheaper again.

Posted by Scott on 15/03/2013

Now I almost want to see a spider get Kate....

Posted by Rhett on 15/03/2013

No worries Kate.
I live in Sydney and I'm a little bit fond of (read love) Melbourne. Oh and Grand Prix so I'd be sad to see it go. But I wouldn't want anyone to be forced to actually spend time in the best country in the world against their will. Oh and for the record, I own a Volkswagen. I've never owned a Ford/Holden though it's worth pointing out most of their ranges are now European anyway...

Posted by Sam on 15/03/2013

Message to Kate, we have a saying here that applies beautifully to people like you. "Australia, Love it or leave it" Win Win for both of us.

Posted by Christian Andersen on 14/03/2013

Good article, a Sydney funnel web spider will kill you in 35 minuts flat and lets not talk about the blue ring octopus.
But how can you write about things that want to kill you in Australia without mentioning the "Drop Bear"

Posted by Peter on 14/03/2013

I love the GP in Australia, bring it back to Adelaide, the Victorians stole it off us in the first place. South Australians really loved it. Our weather is better and we have excellent wines.

Posted by plantsman on 14/03/2013

Its a shame when a few whinging aussies try to spoil it for all the genuine people and fans in melbourne.They are only interested in selling copy.

Posted by Joshua on 14/03/2013

I went to a Melbourne GP some years ago. The cost of hotels, eating and entertainment was truly eye-watering. Even with a good exchange rate. he city lacked any sense of soul, culture and history and seemed to have been constructed by IKEA. The locals (that i met) would always take great delight in slagging you off if you were English and were basically, quintessential xenophobes. Since most F1 teams are based in England, couldn't the race be taken elsewhere? Where the residents were more appreciative of what was brought to them. Especially another third world country which could do with the revenue and wasn't on the bottom of the planet. Australia DOES have the highest variety of types of lethal creatures in the world. Sunbathe on a patch of grass at your peril!

Posted by SYD on 14/03/2013

Bring it to Sydney! BTW Kate, if you have to post explaining the article is "tongue in cheek" perhaps it is you that missed the point!

Posted by Adrian on 14/03/2013

Don,t forget about the kangaroo taxies to the track some big reds will take 2 passengers.

Posted by FG on 14/03/2013

I read the article and about 4 comments in and decided I'd had enough of this rubbish. Australia love the grand prix, I live in Melbourne about 5 mins from Albert Park and everybody around loves it. It's a vocal minority that doesn't.

As for costs of coming here, none of the F1 world, that includes media, were complaining when the junket sent you hear in 2001 when it was $3 per pound. It was okay then. Now it might cost some money out of your pocket YOU are the ones whinging.

Frankly, if you don't like it, don't come. We'll come, watch the race, the world will talk about it tomorrow and not one of us will miss you, ESPN, or any spectators that don't come.

Posted by BasCB (@Logist_BCB) on 14/03/2013

Look at the comments that drew!

For those attacking the writer on bad research, or on not paying the cost herself anyway. Consider she has been at all GPs the last 3 or so years, and haw been working with others doing good background stories as well as more light hearted pieces like this one. And as a freelancer, does indeed have to bring up the money herself.

But having a blog post draw as much comments surely means she touched a nerve there. And its site traffic as well, so good job :-)

Posted by Anne on 14/03/2013

I totally agree with every word Kate says, .. far too expensive, weather hot , too far to fly too, and as you say, you can only really stay in Melbourne, where the teams are staying . .. But having a husband who works in F1 , I can info from him... also take India out of the season, it is disgusting.

Posted by Daniel (West Aussie) on 14/03/2013

The people of Victoria need to shut up about this F1 costing too much thing! I know there will always be people who don't like F1 but seriously the F1 circus is a privilege and honor to have in our country. Any world class sporting event is to have in your own country. And its right in the middle of the city as well, how many other F1 races throughout the year are in random remote places (think Korea, Hungry...). There is no better way to kick off the season either.

Nobody complains about the Australian Open, Cricket Test Matches, etc. Why complain about F1? I know it means that there are roads closed for maybe 1 week either side of the GP, but seriously the GP is on 1 weekend! And the track, although is classed as on 'public roads', the roads are in the middle of a park!! Where people have picnics etc, hardly a main road...

It would be so sad to see F1 ever leave Aust. If F1 ever does leave Melb, I hope at least it goes to another state, maybe Sydney or Brisbane.

Posted by Kate Walker on 14/03/2013

What a great response!

There's nothing like being divisive, is there? But for those of you who missed the point - it was a tongue in cheek response to the Aussie papers saying how much they hate F1.

Every race has upsides and downsides. In Oz it's the high costs and local media hate. In Malaysia it's the INSANE heat. In China it's the visas and the smog.

If everything in life was all sunshine and roses, we'd be sunburned and riddled with allergies.

But keep the comments coming - I've really enjoyed reading your feedback so far. :)

Posted by Fair Dinkum on 14/03/2013

That's a FANTASTIC article!!!

I lived in Melbourne for three years and attended each GP and had fun times at the track but outside the track... Australia: 'You Can Keep It!'

What a negative environment to live in. The constant winging and nonsense that flows through the souls of the locals and press makes it a miserable place to live in. Yes, Melbourne has many attractions, brilliant infrastructure and you can tick every box on the list because it is a jacked city but it has NO HEARTBEAT & NO SOUL.

Judging by a few responses above that negative sentiment and complaining still exists. I left Melbourne because of this poor attitude it has -never mind the police state it is in. Leave them to be and let's take F1 along with the good and go somewhere else.

Posted by Protect Street Circuits on 14/03/2013

I don't agree with your comments. Bernie Ecclestone wants to keep the race in Melbourne forever. Which other Grand Prix has been offered that kind of deal. He obviously thinks it adds a lot.

Been voted the best run GP multiple times staged in a city voted the most liveable in the world. I would also take a part-time street circuit over a Herman Tilke designed car park (For e.g Austin, Korea, India, Bahrain, China), for sheer atmosphere and for TV spectacle. Drivers have it too easy these days. Melbourne is an ode to a dying breed of circuit that rewards bravery and skill, you make a mistake you crash.

I must admit the Adelaide Grand Prix was even better. It was a better track with more overtaking opportunities, it was a proper street circuit (rather then part street circuit) and the whole weekend had a more carnival feel. Always rained though. BTW I am from Melbourne not Adelaide.

Posted by Hein on 14/03/2013

Dear Kate, you hit the sweat spot. The most comments ever on a article on this site :-)

Posted by F1anywhere on 14/03/2013

Unfortunately for Kate the weather will be a little
more bearable than the last week or so (9 days of +30deg C). It will be great to see her blog next week after she has been bitten by a spider, suffered heat stroke, fleeced by the expensive living costs and maybe even been abused by a local. A least she'll prove a point to herself.

If have been to many F1s around the world, some better than others but it is good for Aus' no matter which city it's in. It'll be a sad day if we loose it because of this type of ill informed style journalism. It is a world championship, we a part of the world I hope, and have a rich motor sport heritage.

Enjoy your stay.

Posted by Leon on 14/03/2013

Oh Dear! No free business class upgrade from Qantas? No Holden Statesman waiting at the airport? No Chateau Latour waiting in the hotel room? And worse, VJ's boat wasn't even in the harbour for a party! More than enough reason to be deeply unhappy.

Posted by John on 14/03/2013

Why don't you tell us what you really think Kate???

Posted by @Damien_Marquez (GrandPrixAdvisor.com) on 14/03/2013

This article seems a little unfair Kate.

First and foremost, Australia is a very safe place. 70% of the population lives in metropolitan areas where they are unlikely to be eaten by a croc! :)

#2 top car brands in Australia are Toyota and Mazda. Holden and Ford are struggling, Hyundai is on the rise.

#3 Non-Victorians (including me) are very happy that Victorians foot the bill for the F1 race. Mind you, you are correct in saying they need F1 more than F1 needs Melbourne. Where's their Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House? Where's the good weather? Not in Melbourne, which is why they also need the Australian Open and Melbourne Cup.

#4 Who complains about F1 being there? Mostly the press that needs to sell their papers. Ever since I attended this event in 2006, it's been the same debate ad nauseam. The truth is in the numbers of spectators rocking to the race. 300,000 + last year.

Finally, the exchange rate was at the other end of the spectrum up until 2009. We all get our turn! :)

Posted by Roger on 14/03/2013

Mexicans can go to Austin, Thai people can go to Kuala Lumpur. Australia and Oceania has contributed enough to F1 in the past to have a race within the region. Sorry if it is expensive for you, but a F1 Gran Prix is and should be for the fans. Its not for Journalists to drink wine and have a cheap holiday.

Posted by Jon Sie on 14/03/2013

Agree, Aussie doesn't need this kind of sport. Most probably a kangaroo race would be mostly welcomed here Down Under.

Posted by Matthew on 14/03/2013

Bring it back to Adelaide where it belongs. You can walk right off the track into the bustling atmosphere of rundle street. The F1 today in conjunction with the fringe would be fantastic.

Posted by Jason on 14/03/2013

Kate - you must love the Brazilian Grand Prix if you find Melbourne such a struggle? :-)

Posted by Mark (Aussie) on 14/03/2013

Loved your blog. Very Funny. My only disappointement is you didn't mention the snakes. We've got some of the best. Only the tough survive and the the delicate would best stay away.

Posted by eric on 14/03/2013

Funniest thing Iv'e read in years! why do people bite so easily!!

Posted by Simon Brodie on 14/03/2013

Speaking from an Australian F1 fan's perspective, F1 alienates itself from ordinary people; including non-Australians. The advanced technology is hard to understand without effort, and whether it truly adds to the spectacle for punters is perhaps hard to quantify.

The Australian media only have V8 supercars to compare F1 to, and that category is more accessible due to the people and geography. Add to that, Bernie Ecclestone's insouciant criticism of Melbourne (followed by praise) generates confusion and provokes resistance from the locals.

In my view, it all adds up to misunderstanding in the Australian media. It frequently makes hopeless gaffes, demonstrating no concerted effort to understand what it reports on. This probably has a flow on effect on local interest.

In terms of cost of living, I agree Australia is hopelessly expensive. Good point.

Posted by john on 14/03/2013

You are probably right on most counts, though I don't believe Melbourne needs F1. Melbourne is well endowed with iconic sporting events, starting with the Aus Open tennis, and unlike F1, they are part of the culture. Real motor sport fans go to Bathurst. I have recently moved back to Melbourne after a gap of 10 years or so, and definitely Melbourne is "over" the GP. Quite different from the first few races, though part of the excitement may have been just pinching it from Adelaide.

PS. You forgot about the crocodiles, though not common in Albert Park Lake.

Posted by Hernry on 14/03/2013

Bernie Ecclestone has said that if he could sign a contract to keep Australia in forever, he would. Turns out F1 DOES need Australia. But F1 doesn't really need you, so if you hate Australia so much why don't you just stay home?

Posted by Con Dimitrakakis on 14/03/2013

I agree that this is a pretty poor article. Don't believe the Melbourne media circus. They love to write articles about how the GP is costing us so much of our taxpayers money, but the event consistently pulls 100,000 people on each day that the F1 cars are out every single year and the government (regardless of which mob is in power) keeps committing to extending the race contract and the drivers and teams talk about how great it is to be here every year. Those of us without our head in the sand know that this is worth the effort and expense.

The point about hotels is valid, but doesn't just apply to here. $500 a night to stay in San Antonio and then pay $100/day to get to the Circuit of the Americas every day? I don't think so... lucky I knew someone in Austin to put me up for the weekend!

Oh, and you forgot to mention those pesky drop-bears, they're nasty!

Posted by Erik on 14/03/2013

Thailand or Mexico hey? You will find just as much heat, just as many bugs, and dare I say it, a few more stomach bugs at both of these locations... That, and somehow I doubt that either of these (very likely) government-funded venues will stand the test of time. Turkey anyone?

I will concede that the Melb race is crap though, it's a boring track. And while you're having a whinge about our prices spare a thought for us poor souls who live here year-round and subsidise Bernie's annual fee through government taxes.

Posted by James on 13/03/2013

Bring back Adelaide, and all these 'problems' will be overshadowed by the racing.

Posted by bronwyn collier on 13/03/2013

I want F1 here so welcome to everyone who's visiting and I hope you have a great time. While the exchange rates were 3 Aussie dollars to 1 English pound coming here was really cheap for you and bad for us to go overseas so let us have it our way for a while. I'm sure the value of the dollar will go down again before too long (just in time for me to travel OS!).

Posted by Nik on 13/03/2013

A refreshing view - at least you avoided the saccharine "Oh, isn't Australia wonderful" cliche. Thank you for that.

As an Aussie, I'm sad that people find a visit here less than wonderful. I'm surprised that our hotel prices are so comparatively high. It's not all our fault: the Yanks are partly to blame for letting their dollar devalue as it has!

Australia is not the only country where the GP has detractors: Belgium, Germany, France, and more. So the detractors are not the only opinion to be considered.
... And yes, Spa would be a far greater loss than the Melbourne track.

Basically we have all been lining Bernie's pockets far too much for far too long: the price of hosting an F1 GP is exorbitantly expensive. Bernie talks of the need to reduce costs due to the GFC, but he never mentions reducing his cut - ermm gouge.

Many of my friends no longer go to the Aus GP, but go to Malaysia, or a couple of European ones instead. So if we lost the Melbourne, maybe everyone would win?

Posted by Don Mega on 13/03/2013

100% correct article by the author. Born and bred here it is everything that is written above, the only bit that was left out was the DAILY hatred towards cars, the car culture and the draconian laws that aim to raise revenue for the govt at every opportunity.

This ******** does not deserve F1, I hope it goes somewhere decent just as I hope I do in a few years. I am sick and tired of the crap we have to put up with.

No wonder Mark Weber will never be back, we grew up in the same town and went to the same high school! (4 years apart) and let me tell you things have changed for the worse since the mid 1980's.

Posted by Robin on 13/03/2013

As a racing fan, one should not care. Once the first engine has been started, all else is irrevelant. Especially F1. Gladly lived in cold muddy tents on race weekends - hell I loved being in Mexico City because there were F1 cars there. I live in Baltimore and greatly enjoyed listening to the moaning about roads being closed for our Indycar race. Doesn't make up for the stick and ball rubbish we deal with but it's something. Best wishes to Australia. Can't wait to visit.

Posted by Ronny on 13/03/2013

I have lived here for 32 years and I can confirm that Melbourne is the arse end of the world. The Australian F1 should have been in Sydney

Posted by Mark on 13/03/2013

You're right. I was born and raised here but the constant slagging of F1 from the general public and media is the summation of all that is wrong. Sort sited people and a disgraceful media looking for anything to rant about. F1 offers the most value for money of any event held in Melbourne. Yes, it's costs us tens of millions in tax dollars but has anybody ever bothered to calculate the benefits? Things like tourism, GST revenue and raising the profile of a city, which for most people, is considered at the other end of the world. Nobody can argue how expensive things have got in Melbourne either, it's become a joke.

As a huge F1 fan, it upsets me when I hear all the anti F1 stuff and I'm just ahppy there are enough fans here to continue the support. I just wish our voice was louder and the F1 community would here us, rather than the short sighted wingers.

Posted by Bazza on 13/03/2013

Why is it some people respond to cricticism with personal attacks on the writer and, even more ridiculously, the writer's country. Why not put a sensible counter argument rather than acting like 10 year old schoolboys and name calling.

Posted by Frankie J on 13/03/2013

I agree with Andrew Eade. We all still think of Australia as a great land of opportunity but the politicians have killed it with endless nanny state laws and petty regulations. Anyone who thinks the UK is bad should come and visit and see how the authorities are trying to squeeze every last drop of fun out of a stunning and amazing country.

Posted by Gino on 13/03/2013

We northerner's don't really enjoy the blazing sunshine down under especially when the temperature creeps up to 40°C as it did when I visited, Melbourne is not a proper fixed circuit with covered stands where you could watch in less discomfort and the cost I can visit both The German F1 and the Hungarian F1 for the same cost and get good food and beer.
I am not worried about box jelly fish and sharks as I keep out of the water, the only thing I really enjoy about Australia is the clear dark sky in the desert where you can see the milky way.

Posted by Prmspen on 13/03/2013

Kate, I hope you can see the irony of participants in one of the few true "world" championships moaning about having to travel the world. Would you prefer that F1 adopts the American model a la the baseball "World Series," where no one else gets to play?

That being said, I'm sure your main goal was to wind us Aussies up, and clearly you succeeded. Well done.

Posted by Stavvy on 13/03/2013

The opinion of a journalist . . . I love to watch racing wherever it is (except Valencia)

Posted by andrew eade on 13/03/2013

I'm sorry but that article left out the key to the whole story... The track has held host to many great races. Who cares about the BS it's F1 racing not F1 comfort, hospitality and convenience. Suck it up and enjoy a great on track product.

Posted by Andre Stoops on 13/03/2013

I have to agree, the hotels prices are out of this world, so are the good attendance seats for the race, more expensive than the best ones at Monaco... If you want a beer with a mate, you will fork around 20 bucks and a steak will cost you the price of the cow.

Australia is killing itself with prices which do not make sense, and Australians are not that keen of F1, as a mather a fact, they are more into super V8 and local sports...

I have lived for 17 years in Australia and when I arrived there in 95, it was "god's land", now it is just a "nice tropical overpriced and overrated full of laws and nanny state restrictions"

Posted by Flash Jack on 13/03/2013

It could be academic. Australia's economy is screwed and the good days are coming to an end. Money and politicians will decide the fate of the race in Melbourne, and when politicians anywhere get involved it only ends in tears.

Posted by PNJ on 13/03/2013

Well, never mind about the fans watching a cracking race, it's all about the circus and travelling journo's. Forget the fans, some's naval sits needs attention...

Posted by James on 13/03/2013

Kate - the problem Is that the Melbourne GP is generally a boring race. The track is uninspiring and the race is held at the wrong time of year. The Australian Grand Prix was at its most popular when it was in Adelaide pre 1996. The Adelaide race was the final round and was a 4 day party.

The other problem is that Bernie wants too much $$$$ in licensing fees, which in itself pisses off the public - especially when they can't get a hospital bed or their train isn't running.

When the F1s moved from Adelaide, the motor sport board developed a V8 race, which costs significantly less to run than the F1s, but makes an absolute fortune in profit. The year that the V8s didn't go to Melbourne, crowds at the Melbourne GP were significantly lower.

While a lot of people love having the F1s in Australia, there are quite a few in Melbourne who would love to kick the F1 circus to the kerb. At the end of the day, F1s is expendable in Australia's sporting landscape. Don't forget that Kate.

Posted by Ron on 13/03/2013

Australia is good for F1 they love fast cars and have good fans and attendance which is more I can say for the US

Posted by Moaning Aussies on 13/03/2013

to the Whinging Aussies;

We will move the race to another place if you promise to not let the over-rated Mark Webber leave the country. Oh and that funny looking one who insists on putting a random 'I' in his name!

Posted by Tony on 13/03/2013

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Stand and be proud aussies. A journalist and her opinions that mean nothing and never will, will have no affect on absolutely anything. Ever. We welcome the F1 and always will (while we have it).

Posted by Tom on 13/03/2013

Wow looking at the response you might think she mentioned your Cricket team as well....

Posted by Tim on 13/03/2013

How did this blog get published? The Victorian Government have made it part of their agenda to extend the race beyond 2015. Kate If you actually put in some research you might have found this out.

With the exception of Monaco and maybe Monza I cannot think of a more atmospheric, characterful grand prix venue. Melbourne or Bahrain anyone? Bernie Ecclestone has said this grand prix is as important to F1 as Monaco, the jewell in F1s crown. So to say Melbourne adds 'little value to the F1 calendar' is laughable. Oh dear.

Posted by Neel Jani on 13/03/2013

A very bitter article. In spite of not having ever visited Australia, the way the article is written is a case of bad journalism. I hope this article is brought down by ESPN. Poor piece of writing.

Posted by Lumpfish on 13/03/2013

Good article. Why should F1 bother with places that are so remote as to be inaccessible to most fans and where the idea of a fun event is watching two insular and irrelevant car manufacturers go head to head ad nauseam. The bugs and jellyfish and taxi drivers are more reasons to stay away.

Posted by Deano on 13/03/2013

What a crack, you certainly got the response you were after...

Posted by Lumpfish on 13/03/2013

Spot on. Why should F1 bother with remote third-world countries where its not welcome and where motorsport is considered to be about two tired and globally pointless manufacturers going head to head year after year. And that's without the pests such as bugs, jelly fish and taxi drivers.

Posted by Ben Dover on 13/03/2013

Nothing like the sounds of home truths upsetting the colonials.

Posted by Aadil on 13/03/2013

If the local Government is making such big loss then why dont they cant the slippin race and stop complaining. We sick and tired of reading how Aus is loosing money and its costing tax payers money! F1 doesnt need the Aus GP! The track is great but u can hardly say F1 will be poorer without it.

Posted by Michael Anderson on 13/03/2013

Whinging Pom?

Posted by Aadil on 13/03/2013

Brilliant article.

At least u said it the way it is.

Its pretty impressive that u spoke ur mind Kate.

Few ppl in the F1 world are that open and honest!

Please give us more articles like this! :)

Posted by Aussie Davo on 13/03/2013

Kate your story is lacking fact, interlect or humour. I suggest you do five minutes research prior to sitting before your keyboard, and making a fool of yourself.

Posted by Juan on 13/03/2013

ESPN is turning in to the People magazine of the sports world, just like CNBC became aforementioned publication of the news world. No wonder there are publications that get away with charging for content. At least we know we're paying for QUALITY content, not for some nonsense posted by a random blogger.

Posted by Shane on 13/03/2013

Would you prefer to be in Australia, or would you prefer to be at Interlagos being robbed at gunpoint by the local gangs (that is if ESPN haven't shelled out for a bulletproof car to transport you), or at Sakhir trying to stay away from the swarms of protest conflicts? Unless you planned to leave early like Force India did.

Posted by Arthur Dunger on 13/03/2013

Sorry Kate, you are ill informed, for your own safety, stay away.
We have here in Australia, razor sharp corals, cyclones, tornadoes, angry natives, backpacker murderers, maneating koalas, Danni Minogue, giant spiders, deranged gunmen, scorching deserts, wild bushfires, stinging jellyfish, sharks with friggin' lasers, grey nurses, gummy sharks, boatpeople eating crockodiles and last but not least, Victoria Police.

Posted by peterrice on 13/03/2013

I presume that author is having a little fun at our expense: a test of our famous Irish-based sense of humour. The only thing that isn't liked about F1 is Lord Bernie's price gouging. And Australia is only expensive because the pound and Euro are worth so little. Enough finance theory kids, but two full days is the second best weekend of the year after that other one in October; oh, and the B.Day Test; and the Sydney Test; and the Augusta Golf if Tiger is going well, and the AFL Grand Final as long as Collinwood isn't doing well; and the Rugby World Cup; and..........

Posted by Bruce Rogers on 13/03/2013

Come on Kate, locals (some) all around the globe complain about their F1 race. Apparently the AU GP loses millions, no matter how you spin the tourist income.

Lots of people DO like the GP, but the local paper you saw finds no attraction in a story of happy, satisfied people. But "Local Grumpy Old Men complain F1 is fading their Cows" makes a compelling headline. Not to worry, the generation of people that read newspapers is quickly passing.

Kate's right we do have the market cornered on biting, spiky, things that kill, and you forgot to mention the Box Jelly fish, look it up, very scary.

I personally have the very best seat in the house for Saturday & Sunday, in my lounge room in front of the big screen, that you can pause and rewind. No travelling, no public, no blistering sun, no Most Expensive Food & Drink in the Southern Hemisphere and hardly any poisonous critters.

Can’t wait for the season to start.

Posted by Jake on 13/03/2013

What a load of misinformed nonsense. Instead of being grateful that you've somehow come across this F1 blogging job, instead you're complaining about visiting a wonderful part of the world which has great weather and some of the most amiable people you could wish to meet.

I cannot imagine for one second that you've followed F1 for long. Australia has brought some of the most exciting races that there's been in F1, and perhaps if you spent a little more time doing your research than simply ripping on a nation due to preconceived stereotypes then you wouldn't have experienced such a backlash of disagreement.

Unless, of course, the only point of your "article" was to cause some dissent in the comments section. In future, please actually give some statements that can be backed up with facts. People more informed than you would be more grateful for the wonderful opportunity to travel the world and watch F1.

Posted by Moaning Aussies! on 13/03/2013

Its amazing that at the first sign of anyone criticising their country how Australians resort to abuse. Its a lovely place but it has its faults and the main issue with Australians is they refuse to acknowledge any of them. Lets start with your PM and work down shall we?

The Victorian government has made clear it wants F1 as much as a legless man wants a skateboard. So why is what Kate writes wrong? It might be hard reading but its based on fact, so man up and face reality.

Posted by Bruce on 13/03/2013

I'm quite surprised at ESPN putting such inaccurate rubbish on their site as a Feature. Let's all hope Kate Walker stays home - she is not welcome and I sure won't be reading any of her articles in future.

Posted by Geoff on 13/03/2013

Australians don't buy Holdens much, and especially don't buy Fords. They buy Toyotas and Mazdas and have done for many years...

Posted by Ben Weaver on 13/03/2013

I read this article expecting there to be a punchline but there wasn't one. How can you complain about the costs when I guarantee you don't foot the costs yourself? I can imagine your expenses bill doesn't just cover the necessaries? And, if it's really that bad why don't you watch it in glorious HD from he comfort of your own home? Saves people in Australia from you and saves your company a fortune in sending you there to write this load of nonsense.

Posted by Daniel on 13/03/2013

Couldnt disagree with you more. My points below:
- As previously stated Ford / Holden car sales have been declining here for years with imported cars taking over
- Majority of Melbourne welcome F1 with constant crowds of over 100,000 on race day every year.
- Supply and demand basic economic principle. While GP is in town and demand for hotels / restaurants is up, the prices will be too. Same with most GP's in the world. I went to Monaco last year so have experience
- More Brits die each year in Thailand from motorbike accidents (many don't wear helmets) than deaths from sharks, sting rays, snakes etc in Australia all put together.
- All the teams, drivers, staff mostly have positive comments about coming to Melbourne
- Unfortunately the local newspapers sometimes get carried away with the negative aspects of the race costs etc. As in any society there is a percentage of people who are too short sighted to see the real benefits. There are plenty of us that do see the benefits!!!!

Posted by Lyall Weir on 13/03/2013

I agree whole heartedly with you about the MELBOURNE Grand Prix. The track is nothing special at all, neither is the atmosphere, and you definitely get the feeling that the paddock wouldn't be disappointed at all if the Melbourne Grand Prix didn't exist. I can sense this watching it on tv or being at the race. To me, and many other true F1 fans, the answer is simple: ADELAIDE. Those who are familiar with the modern history of formula one know that the Adelaide street circuit is one of the best in the world, if not THE best, and that includes Monaco. The drivers and teams of the 80's and early 90's loved coming here, both for the track and the event, the atmosphere, the city and it's people. Disappointingly, for various reasons the South Australian government of the time saw it necessary to sell the race to Victoria because they couldn't afford it. Such a shame as formula one let go of one of the most memorable and special events on it's calendar.

Posted by Aaron Miller on 13/03/2013

From the first line I knew that this was a completely misinformed piece of writing.

I've been living in Australia since I was born and I've never been bitten by a spider, snake, crocodile, dingo, jellyfish or any of the like. And no, I haven't been hiding in a cave.

'Australians buy Fords and Holdens' is also a massive generalisation. In fact, I think most Australians know that sales of locally built Fords and Holdens have declined rapidly over the years. Soon our automotive manufacturing industry will be dead and who will we buy cars from?

Melbourne isn't the best place to hold the Australian Grand Prix but I'll tell you where is: Adelaide. The local touring car event had an attendance of 286,500 over 5 days, with 95,000 on the Sunday. According to Wikipedia "The Adelaide Street Circuit has often been stated as being one of, if not, the greatest street circuits in the world. Whenever the teams came to Adelaide they enjoyed the party atmosphere".

Think about it.

Posted by Hobbity on 13/03/2013

Home truths always wind up Australians which i suspect is Kate's intention. Mind you, not always advisable to piss off an entire country, even if it is that one, when you are about to travel there. The locals are not known for having any discernible sense of humor so tread carefully

Posted by Claire on 13/03/2013

Noo! We LOVE the F1 in Australia!

Dont let the un-F1-educated fool you into thinking you're unwanted, you're all very very wanted and very very appreciated!

Will be there with bells on all weekend!

PS: The Herald Sun (Melbourne paper) is tabloid journalism at best. Full of sooky whingers who have an opinion and wouldnt know a fact if it jumped on them. Dont bother reading it, I dont!

Posted by Dingobutt on 13/03/2013

Well said. I am fed up with whinging from Australians about the cost, the noise, the pollution yak yak yak.

Move the race to somewhere else as long as it's not one of Bernie's Middle East hellholes and then leave Australia in the kind of isolation its people seem to thrive on.

Posted by Geoff Roper on 13/03/2013

Giant Spiders of Doom, Hungry Dingoes?
Holdens and Fords haven't been on the top of the charts here for many years - check your facts!?
What an ignorant and arrogant piece of tripe you have written!
We welcome F1 and all that it brings to our beautiful country. You on the other hand can go back to the dark hole you've obviously crawled out of!

Posted by ollieworld on 13/03/2013

If you think Australia was expensive last time you were there, be prepared for a shock this time round. I bet the Aussie tourist industry has been destroyed by the costs involved.

Posted by Ben on 13/03/2013

Just want to say a few things from the Australian point of view as well as an F1 fan:

a) I don't know where you got it from, but everything here does not want to kill us, think koalas, emus, kangaroos. I know it wasn't supposed to be taken literally but I just though i'd point it out.

b) Your stereotype that Australians buy Fords and Holdens is completely unwarranted. If you actually lived in Australia you would realise that this is most definitely untrue and it frustrates me that people continue to make these stereotypes.

c) Do you really need to complain about how it is such a hassle getting to Australia, getting accommodation, how everything is so expensive when this is the only chance for a middle-class Australian F1 fan to actually see F1 live. Think about the cost for us to fly around the globe to see F1. Why should you complain when people from other places in the world are clearly far more better off when it comes to watching F1 live than those who live in Australia.

Posted by Hulk on 13/03/2013

If you don't want to come to Australia then stay at home. Nobody's forcing F1 down here.

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WRITER BIO
Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'. Kate Walker
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