… Australian Grand Prix Chairman
and the longstanding owner of a particularly ugly haircut, Ron Walker!
Walker – who recently recovered from brain surgery following a fall – has slammed suggestions that next year’s Australian Grand Prix should be moved to an earlier timeslot, and very helpfully thwarted further negotiations by describing the complaining drivers as “prima donnas”.
This year’s event came under heavy criticism from many drivers who claimed that the latter stages of the race occurred in very poor light conditions. This was supported by measurements conducted by the FIA, which deemed the light conditions unsuitable for a twilight race.
The start time for the Australian GP was shifted from its usual 2pm start time to a 4pm start time in 2009, purely to provide a better live TV timeslot for F1’s (predominantly) European audience. The start time for the 2010 race was pushed back by a further hour and – coupled with heavy overcast conditions – was run in poor light conditions, with the Melbourne organisers so-far refusing Bernie Ecclestone’s overtures to install circuit spot lighting similar to what is used as the Singapore and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
Speaking with the Herald Sun newspaper, Walker said: “[The 5pm start] is clearly not dangerous."
Really Ron! And your years of Formula 1 motor racing experience – or indeed, any motor racing experience – have you fully informed?
That’s right! You don’t have any motor racing experience!
"You can’t please these drivers, they are a bunch of lazy people who won’t do anything to help the sport, except for two or three.
"A lot of drivers are prima donnas. They are never happy," added Walker.
Australia’s motor racing governing body, CAMS, has stated that a debrief of the 2010 event has not yet occurred.
This debate couldn’t happen at a worse time for the Melbourne event, which has historically operated at massive losses ever since it took over hosting duties from Adelaide in 1996.
Further to this, the rival New South Wales state government is trying to snatch the Grand Prix hosting rights when Albert Park’s contract expires and has offered to host the race under floodlights in Sydney.
Who’s keen to bet on a venue change to Sydney in the near future?