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Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has responded to those who consistently campaign against a Grand Prix taking place in Melbourne, explaining that although taxpayers in the state of Victoria have to bear the front of a large race licence fee, they should recognise the overall economic boost it provides to the area.
After reports in Australia's Herald Sun newspaper marked the annual hosting fee at approximately 20 million pounds, renewed criticism of the event was sparked. However, Coulthard says the positives of the race clearly outweigh the negatives.
"There is absolutely no question that Melbourne is a great city for us to come to, full stop," Coulthard said on the Australian Grand Prix podcast. "It's a great race track within the Albert Park facility. For the one week of inconvenience when people don't get the access, they shouldn't be so selfish, quite frankly.
"They should think of the greater good; what it does for the local economy, what it does to inspire young school children who want to be engineers, designers, whether it's in engine design, tyres or whether they want to be drivers. You don't inspire people by not giving them a taste of what is out there.
"The people who put out the negativity, I wonder how they'd feel if I stood outside whatever sporting event they follow and put forward my right to say 'well I don't like you doing that, it annoys me'? You have to be tolerant and those who don't particularly appreciate it (the Grand Prix) should be tolerant of those who do."
Coulthard went on to argue that licence fees are not exclusive to Formula 1, with other sporting events being subsidised by the government and taxpayers.
"It's a truly international event and Melbourne is on the world map," he said. "With the licence fee that has to be paid, nothing comes for nothing, and licence fees get paid for other sporting events. You have to think of all the restaurants, hotels, and the duty free at the airport. It gives a boost to the economy."
Melbourne has a contract in place to stage a Grand Prix until 2015. In a recent interview with Australian radio station 3AW, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stated: "If they’re happy with what they pay for the event to take place, then I’m very happy."
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