Bernie Ecclestone has lashed out at Australian Federal Labor MP Kelvin Thompson, after Thompson suggested there were “better ways to spend $50 million a year, than bank-rolling Bernie’s billionaire bogan”. On Melbourne radio 3AW, Ecclestone labelled Thompson a “half-wit, who should be fired because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. Further adding: “You’re not a communist state there are you?”
Former Minardi team boss, Paul Stoddard defended the Grand Prix, claiming the Melbourne Grand Prix was “five times cheaper than anywhere else on the circuit”. With the notable exclusion of Monaco of course.
Regardless, the event has become a bit of a soft target for Melbournians, with lowly attendances for international swimming events barely rating a mention. Likewise, Former Grand Prix Chairman Ron Walker has argued the Victorian government put forward $700 million to build the Melbourne tennis centre – a similar figure to staging the Grand Prix for a 14 year period – but again hardly features on the cost-cutting radar.
Hospitals, road toll and public housing will continue to be thrown up as victims of the annual motorsport event. But in reality, the revenue generated from what (in Victoria) has degenerated into a nanny state will more than cover these essential needs many times over.
Add to this the figure of $757 spent on the Myki debacle (a scrapped automated public transport ticketing system in Melbourne) and the Grand Prix becomes a handy deflection for gross incompetence on the part of the Victorian government. At least this event is still selling tickets.