In the last week, the city of Adelaide has appeared interested in a Formula 1 return; with the city’s council formally requesting to the South Australian State Government about a resurgence of the famous street track which hosted races in the 80s and 90s.
News of the inquest broke on the 15th of March from the Adelaide Advertiser, one of South Australia’s most prolific newspapers.
Between 1985 and 1995, the bumpy untamed streets of Adelaide provided spectators with a particular atmosphere matched by no other circuit. Given it’s popularity amongst fans, moving the race back isn’t a far-fetched idea, but it would effectively take away Melbourne’s race, which has become a unique event in its own right.
Albert Park has become synonymous for it’s season-opening races which tend to through up chaos and drama as drivers are still acclimatizing to their new beasts for the season.
So the question is simple, how can Formula 1 ensure two brilliant races from Australia – which have each earned their rightful places in the sport – are on the calendar?
The answer is just as simple: Formula 1 needs to revive the Pacific Grand Prix, a moniker created years ago so Formula 1 could host another race in Japan alongside its historic Suzuka Circuit. As of 2017, the Pacific Grand Prix has only been held twice, in 1994 and 1995, and Michael Schumacher became victorious for Benetton in both.
If Formula 1 and Liberty Media do consider returning with their roadshow to Adelaide, they need to make sure Melbourne doesn’t disappear. Considering we’ve seen the compromise of a ‘Pacific Grand Prix’ (and the ‘European Grand Prix’ too) before, the fans know this is something that can be done.
This way, Melbourne can stay with its thrilling season-opener and continue to run under the ‘Australian Grand Prix’ name, whilst Adelaide can return to its infamous end-of-season slot, under the ‘Pacific Grand Prix.’ Easy.
Personally, Adelaide sounds like a circuit that Formula 1 doesn’t just want, but need. It’s unrivaled character and knack of always delivering an exciting race are things this sport desperately needs.
Despite this relatively short stint on the calendar, Adelaide made its mark in Formula 1 by providing unforgettably shocking moments. These include, Nigel Mansell’s tyre failure costing him the World Championship in 1986, Michael Schumacher clashing with Damon Hill for the 1994 Driver’s Championship, and the abandonment of 1991’s race for torrential rain after just 16 laps.
Sadly, important decisions were formally made in 1995 about Adelaide’s future. Firstly, the race was moved to the Albert Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, and secondly, it also shifted from its usual season-ending spot on the calendar to the season-opener.
Since then, Formula 1 has not returned the iconic streets of Adelaide, with the circuit’s main event instead becoming annual rounds of the V8 Supercars and Australian GT Championship.
And, for a circuit which has been described as “the sport’s best ever street circuit,” by Bleacher Report, it just feels wrong to enter Liberty Media’s new era of Formula 1 without Adelaide present.
By – Steven Walton