Meant in jest, of course, but this does need to be said. Last year Bernie Ecclestone went on a bit of a crusade with regards to the timing of many races. With Europe being one of the largest television markets for Formula One, Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder, wants to capitalise on this. And ultimately, who can blame him? However, the changing of race times in non-European countries poses many problems. And believe it or not, so does scheduling a race on a time-change weekend in the United Kingdom.
To explain my perhaps very bizarre opening paragraph: Ecclestone has pushed back the start time of the Australian Grand Prix (time and date). For a start, I disagree with this. I have fond memories of waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning (something like 4am), dragging my duvet downstairs and curling up with the dog to watch Formula One while the rest of the family slept. At the time, I was of course much younger.
My father would leave me some doughnuts to munch on and the dog was just excited to be woken up at some silly hour only to find it being wrapped in it’s favourite bedding – my duvet. Needless to say, staying awake or arising early holds special memories for me, and it is something I cherish from my youth. I will admit, now being at a grand age of nearly 28 I find the process a little more arduous, mostly thanks to a demanding career and the fact that I can no longer fall asleep after the race. Quite the contrary, I have to stay awake and write. This though, is just as much a pleasure. Although I hope you will forgive me if I seem grumpy on Monday morning!
However, to get back to the point, Bernie has been pressuring races in Asia and Australia to start later in order to capture as many Europeans as possible. With scant regard to the races themselves, Melbourne will be pushing on dusk by the time the winner crosses the line. What Bernie didn’t realise though, one can only presume, is that this weekend is when the clocks change in the UK. We lose an hour’s sleep as time magically moves forward by sixty minutes. I will admit to having my own grievances about changing the clocks, but here is not the place – I’ll leave that to the personal site on Monday morning.
So Ecclestone feels he has achieved something by pushing Australia back this year. I hope he feels just as satisfied when he realises that many Britons will oversleep and miss the first hour of the race. Not that we are stupid and will forget (mostly) but because we value sleep, just as everyone else does. And teenagers, a market Formula One should be clammering after, will have a hard enough time waking up for the pre-clock change time.
The time changes are worked out years in advance, and this season is the latest starting that I can remember in many years. I will be up, confusion aside of course, but I cannot help but feel
Pike Bernie has been, well, a bit of a stupid boy.