longstanding anti-Grand Prix newspaper – if it can even be graced with such a term – the Herald Sun has published details of the sanctioning fees that Victorian taxpayers pay for the rights to host the Australian Grand Prix each year.
The report, published in today’s edition of the tabloid, confirmed that upwards of $30 million per year is paid in sanctioning fees alone to Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management group.
The actual sanctioning fee figure has remained closely-guarded under the terms of the state legislative act that dictates the true breakdown of costs of the Grand Prix should never become public knowledge.
Noted in the report, the cost of the current five-year contract with FOM, which expires in 2015, is close to $170 million, with the sanctioning fee rising by five per cent per year, meaning they will peak at $38 million by 2015.
These fees are on top of the estimates $18 million a year it costs to stage the race, with much of the funding directed towards the annual set-up and pack-down to create the temporary street circuit around Albert Park.
The announcement could not have been worse timed for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, which today hosted a media event to celebrate it being 50 days before the big event.
Despite the presence of several big-name celebrities – including Australian test cricketer and self-confessed rev-head Peter Siddle – the AGPC dignitaries spent much of the event defending themselves against questions raised courtesy of the Herald Sun’s article.
This kind of stunt is hardly new from the Herald Sun, which like many Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers around the country, focuses little on the actual facts and instead resorts to sensationalism as often as it can.
One racing figure quick to defend the Australian Grand Prix against the paper’s sensationalist headlines was part-time V8 Supercars driver Tim Blanchard, who took to Facebook with a very critical status update.
“[The] Herald Sun needs to stop whingeing about the F1 and actually get behind the event,” he wrote.
“It provides Australia with worldwide exposure which other countries are willing to pay far more than $30mil for. How about they think about the opportunity for increased tourism etc that F1 brings? It really annoys me how they keep complaining about [the] "waste of taxpayer money" when they don’t do any research to understand it or try to support it.
“Formula 1 is an important marquee event that puts Melbourne and Australia on the international stage just like the Tennis does. At the end of the day you need to spend money to make money!”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, Tim…