The news are full of reports that following the French and Canadian GPs we may soon see the German Formula 1 races go too. This would be sad development in the country that between 1995 and 2006 had been hosting two Formula 1 races per year – the German GP proper at Hockenheim and European / Luxemburg Grands Prix at Nurburgring. Now Hockenheim bosses make it clear that without government money they will not be able to host the race again when their turn comes in 2010. Nurburgring responded saying that their venue is unable to organize the Formula 1 race on annual bases.
Is it really impossible to save the Formula 1 races in Germany ?
According to Der Tagesspiegel the 2008 Hockenheim race ended up 5.3 million Euro in red. I am not really sure how big is this sum considered in Germany. But it does not seem to me like impossible amount of money to be raised. With most of the revenue going to the pocket of Bernie Ecclestone the organizers may have to turn to the fans for more funds. There must however be many ways how to milk more money out of the Formula 1 race goers, here are some:
1) Ticket surcharge and Bernie surcharge on surcharge
Hockenheim has seating capacity 120,000 people. All the organizers need to do is to make sure that all the seats are filled up or at least sold and slap a 44 Euro surcharge on each ticket. If they are not confident they can sell all 120,000 seats, make it 53 Euro surcharge and pocket any profit should more than 100,000 people show up at the gates. And make it very clear that the surcharge is subject to further Bernie surcharges should the FOM insist on annual fee increases. I checked how much the grandstand tickets for the Nurburgring race are for next year – between EUR160 and EUR500, depending on the seat. I expect Hockenheim prices to be within similar range. For sure fans would not mind paying 10% – 30% extra on top of that knowing the money is for good cause – keeping a billionaire happy !
2) Bernie accomodation tax
Leave the ticket prices alone, that may anger the fans. Try something Montreal organizers were contemplating but did not dare to go far enough. Require every fan to stay at least for 4 nights. Whether they stay in hotel or in the camp charge everybody Bernie tax. Let’s make it 13 Euro a night, minimum 4 nights. For this to be successful the organizers again have to be confident about attracting at least 100,000 people in. For sure fans would not mind paying around 50 Euro extra on their travelling expenses knowing the money is for good cause – keeping a billionaire happy !
3) Bernie beer tax
Another option is to make it compulsory to drink F1 taxed beer. The actual tax would depend on the level of responsible drinking the organizers would choose to promote. Unfortunately we can’t get the responsible figures for beer from Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton as one promotes don’t drink and drive rum and the other one don’t drink and drive whisky. But let’s say that on the hot summer day 6 nice cold half a liter glasses in 24 hours would do. Make it 6 beers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday + 3 on Thursday as a warm up. That is 21 beers over the course of the weekend. If fathers come with kids below the drinking age, they would have to drink on their kids behalf. All that would be needed is 2.50 Euro tax on each glass and the money issue would be solved. Fans sure would not care knowing they are drinking towards the future of their Grand Prix and keep the billionaire happy in the process !
If the above measures seem a bit too extreme it is always possible to combine the three of them. Who cares anyway as long as the fans come up with the millions for Mr. Ecclestone.
I think we can easily replace Germany with France or Canada or USA, change the amounts a bit and go on from there.
Any other ideas and suggestions for the Formula 1 organizers in countries where governments simply do not find it reasonable to use more and more taxpayers money to satisfy the ever increasing demands of the Formula 1 boss ?
Photos: RedBull/GEPA, FreeRange Stock