Bernie Ecclestone keen for Australian Grand Prix to remain on Formula One calender
Local opposition and rival bids are threatening the Melbourne race
Tuesday 26 February 2013
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.
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Phil Hughes: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich: Nasri admits City stars will be sold if they fail in Europe
- 1 Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services