I have been fortunate to know Bernie Ecclestone since 1985, the inaugural Grand Prix in Adelaide, when we were introduced by my dear friend Stirling Moss. Since then I look forward to receiving Bernie's annual Christmas card. It takes the form of a cartoon, and every year Bernie manages to have a dig at someone, or something. This year is no different.
It usually arrives between Christmas and New Year, and used to serve as a reminder to put the past year behind us, and create anticipation for the coming Formula One season.
However this year I am reminded that I can no longer enjoy F1 on free-to-air television in Australia, ever since Liberty and Chase Carey decided to sell the TV rights only to Pay TV companies. I do have a monthly cable TV subscription of around AUD$83 a month, for basic service plus a couple of documentary and lifestyle channels.
However, if I want to watch JUST Formula One on FOX SPORTS, I have to pay an extra AUD$28 a month, which includes ALL sports - most of which I have zero interest in.
I can't even watch an hour of (delayed) highlights on free-to-air. Consequently I can only access the few minutes of highlights on the F1 website after each race.
So this means I no longer have the same sense of anticipation for the forthcoming season, the outcomes and results are just fact data.
I realise Bernie had a big reputation for making money out of everything and anything connected with F1, before he was de-commissioned, but I think he was smart enough to recognise that the more people you had watching the sport, delivered more potential for profit.
However, thanks for the card Bernie, it's good to keep in touch.