by Jez Spinks

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is costing Victorian taxpayers more than $30 million a year for the privilege of staging the annual race, according to an exclusive Herald Sun story today.

The newspaper claims it has seen documents that reveal the Victorian state government will pay billionaire F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone nearly $170 million for the licence to stage the race annually between 2011 and 2015.

Successive governments have cited commercial sensitivity as the reason for refusing to reveal the licence fees since Melbourne replaced Adelaide as the host city in 1996, though have conceded that the race loses tens of millions of dollars annually for the state.

The licence for this year’s grand prix, which will take place between March 13th to 15th, has cost $34.2m, the Herald Sun reports – a $1.6m increase on 2012. The newspaper says the documents reveal the fee will rise to $35.9m and $37.7m in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Ecclestone, now 81, has ruled Formula One for decades, and is renowned for his tough negotiating stances. He holds the commercial rights to Formula One through his Formula One Holdings company, charging governments to host a grand prix race.

The licence fees for staging a race are typically negotiated every five years.

The fees vary significantly between events. Monaco is understood to pay nothing thanks to its status as the most prestigious race on the F1 calendar, while Singapore is believed to pay one of the highest figures – almost double that of Melbourne.

Victoria, however, is paying less for the grand prix rights than it was prior to 2010.

A 2008 report by a European publication, Formula Money, said the Victorian government paid Ecclestone $42m for the right to stage the 2008 Australian Grand Prix.


  • Jober As A Sudge

    Same story every year the F1 rolls into town. Next story will be how Bernie is considering axing the Australian GP

    • dave

      Totally agree, same drivel every year – get over it people, it’s a great event. 

    • Steve

      Give the race back to Adelaide then, the event was much better there anyway

  • 80’s Robot

    The Formula one I think is important to Melbourne and Australia. It’s one of the best tracks of the year, and it puts the city on the world map. Whenever I fly over to watch the GP, I also spend a lot of money going out to dinner and shopping. I’m sure other visitors do the same. I doubt the taxpayers are losing out to this.

    • Exar Kun

      Yep.  Considering airfares, accommodation (most expensive thing about going!), food & merchandise (usually purchased from local stores in the city), tickets are only about a quarter of my total spend on the race each year.  So looking at gate takings isn’t really representative.

  • Amlohac

    Bernie’s gotta pay for his custom whips and Nazi garb some how i guess.

    • Jober As A Sudge

      That was Max “S&M”  Mosley

  • George

    It’s worth it to me, and it always will be.

  • Pauly

    So how much tax payer money is spent on the Australian Open? AFL? Cricket? Rugby? V8 Super Cars? Moto GP, Commonwealth Games in Victoria?

    Im sure they are all cost a fair amount of cash, but its all worth it for the publicity and people that it brings to the state.

    Victoria has a massive motoring communitity too:

    – Holden Factories
    – Ford Factories
    – Toyota Factories
    – V8 Super Cars
    – Moto GP
    – Motorshow
    – Formula One

    Simply ignoring that fact alone I find insulting.

    Keep it here in Melbourne, loosing it will have consequences that people simply dont know yet.

    • Zaccy16

      exactly, thats why melbourne is the sporting capital of the world!

  • Mark

    I find it strange that the F1 deal seems to have been done in Australian Dollars 

  • Car2013

    $30 million per year is much better than what I expected.
    This is a fair and reasonable cost for the publicity and economic benefits that
    Melbourne receives for staging Formula One Motor Racing which is the
    pinnacle of motor racing and world sports.

    • Andrew

       That’s just the license cost. What about the cost of all the temporary infrastructure etc. That would add another $15m to the tax payer expense wouldn’t it?

  • Shak

    If they think that is too much, im sure that Barry O’Farrel and the great state of NSW will happily take the burden off of Victoria’s hands. 

    • Just saying

      I dont think so. O’Farrel is all about NRL & AFL. he has no interest in Motorsport events. He canned the Sydney V8 event. The NSW government need to invest in more and bigger sporting events. We have nothing.

  • Jason

    who cares. What is it, about 1/2 a day of keeping that desal plant idling along!