Bernie Ecclestone keen for Australian Grand Prix to remain on Formula One calender

Local opposition and rival bids are threatening the Melbourne race

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone wants to keep a Melbourne Grand Prix on the race calendar in the face of local opposition and rival bids.

The Australian GP, a fixture at Albert Park since moving from Adelaide for the 1996 F1 season, has come under scrutiny from local politicians and residents groups due to the considerable costs incurred by the taxpayer in staging the event.

The race is contracted to stay in the Victorian capital until 2015, but its future beyond that date appears uncertain.

While it remains to be seen if the government and local council will seek to extend the deal, they appear to have a willing partner in Ecclestone.

Speaking to the Australian GP's Keeping Track podcast, the Ecclestone voiced his preference for renewing the existing arrangement.

"We hope we're going to be in Melbourne forever. We're happy with Melbourne and I'd be happy to sign a 50-year contract. We don't have a problem with Melbourne," he said.

"I understand we do get a little bit of criticism. I don't know why. You start wondering are we really wanted in Melbourne?

"It appears to be (wanted) now; whenever these sorts of things happen I'm told, 'Don't be silly about that, it's just one or two people making a noise. We're happy for Formula One to be there."'

According to Ecclestone, other parties have expressed their interest in taking the race away from Melbourne.

"We get proposals from other parts, but we're happy in Melbourne," he said.

"Everybody loves Australia and loves Australian people, and it's good to be there... and Melbourne, in itself, is a nice place."

And the body which facilitates the annual showcase, the Grand Prix Corporation, acknowledged the threat of rival suitors.

"There is always a risk from the other states and this is why Melbourne can never be complacent when it comes to major events and doing things that is going to keep Melbourne in the tourist branding and business eye of the world," Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott told radio station 3AW.

The season-opening Australian GP will take place on March 17.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor