Just a week before Australia kick starts the 2008 Formula One World Championship, Bernie Ecclestone has sent out a clear message to the race organizers, move the race to a night time slot or you lose it.
With Ecclestone already demanding more money - when isn't he? - the F1 supremo has also been applying pressure on Australia to follow the example of Singapore and host its race at night. In this way, Ecclestone gets his cake and gets to eat it, for in addition to getting more and more eastern governments to pay his exorbitant fees for a Grand Prix franchise, he gets the races held at a time which is more user-friendly in the sport's European heartland.
"The only way the race could stay in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Australia, is if it is staged during the night so that the public in Europe can watch it," said Ecclestone, according to The Mail on Sunday.
"At the moment, it is ridiculous that people are asked not to sleep in order to see it live," he continued. "That can't carry on. The alternative is to pull the race completely from Australia. I've spoken to Kevin Rudd and he's told me it would cost too much to re-stage the race, so I guess that's it. We won't be going to Australia for too much longer."
Other than the fact that for many fans in Europe missing a few hours sleep is part of the charm of the Australian Grand Prix, he appears to deliberately ignore the point that because F1 is a global sport, travelling to all the continents, and it is therefore impossible to show the sport at a time which is user-friendly for everyone.
With many in Australian, especially taxpayers, growing weary of Ecclestone's endless demands, and for little return, it is only a matter of time before Ecclestone is told where he can stick his precious series.