Formula 1 - Coulthard: Melbourne critics are selfish

David Coulthard has hit out at long-standing criticisms of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, suggesting protests against it are 'selfish' and 'small-minded'.

The Briton, who won the Albert Park event twice in his career, thinks that a recent growing wave of complaints about the high cost of the event should be stopped.

He argued that even though the GP costs Melbourne a lot of money - with an Australian newspaper revealing that the hosting fee itself is more than £20 million per year – there are substantial benefits to the city.

"For the one week of inconvenience it may cause some local people, then I think they shouldn't be so selfish quite frankly," said Coulthard in an interview for the official Australian Grand Prix podcast.

"They should think of the greater good, what it does for the local economy, what it does to inspire local children to be designers or engineers or whatever it is, engine design, tyres, whether they want to be drivers. You don't inspire people by not giving them a taste of what is out there in the world.

"If people want to be so narrow-minded and not look beyond their personal needs then that's disappointing of course. There are lots of things that I don't appreciate but I don't go campaigning against it because I understand that a lot of people do like it."

Coulthard believes that Melbourne's critics – a small minority of whom have protested at the event in the past – should be more tolerant.

"I wonder how they'd feel if I came and 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'?" he said.

"I think you have to be tolerant in this world and I think for that one week that the people who don't like the sport [should] just tolerate the people who do. It's a truly international event."

Australian GP organisers are keen to extend the current race contract, but said last year that they want the race fee to be reduced.