Coulthard hits out at critics
Critics of the Australian Grand Prix have been described as "selfish" by former Formula One star David Coulthard.
The race at Melbourne's Albert Park has long been at the centre of a local storm of controversy, with many objections raised over its staging in the past.
Just last year Melbourne's lord mayor Robert Doyle, along with local Australian MP Michael Danby, called for the race to be axed once the current contract expires at the end of 2015.
Danby claimed that "rising costs, dwindling crowds and fed-up local residents" no longer made the event a viable one for Melbourne.
Further outrage was voiced only recently when an Australian newspaper revealed Melbourne pays £20million per year to stage the race.
But Coulthard, a 13-times grand prix winner and now a BBC F1 pundit, believes the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
"There is absolutely no question Melbourne is a great city for us to come to. Full stop. It's a great race track within the Albert Park facility," said Coulthard, speaking on the Australian GP podcast.
"For the one week of inconvenience, or whatever it is people don't get the access, then 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 schoolchildren to want to be engineers, designers, whether it's in 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 small-minded and not look beyond their personal needs then that's disappointing.
"There are lots of things I don't particularly appreciate in life, but I don't go campaigning against it because I understand a lot of people do like it.
"The people who put out the negativity, 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'?
"You have to be tolerant in this world and for the one week of the grand prix, those who don't particularly appreciate it (the race) should be tolerant of those who do."
It is understood the race runs at a loss every year, but Coulthard feels there is a bigger picture that needs to be looked at.
"It's a truly international event, and Melbourne is on the world map," added Coulthard.
"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, the duty free at the airport, all of those things, it gives a boost to the economy."