Melbourne may quit as host of Australian Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Melbourne may not continue to host the Australian Grand Prix after the current contract runs out in 2014, the Premier of the state of Victoria John Brumby said today.

The race, which lost almost £30m this year, has been held at a street circuit in the city's Albert Park since 1996, replacing a similar temporary track in Adelaide that had been the venue for the previous 11 years.

Brumby's ruling Labor party is up for re-election this month in what looks like being a close poll and the opposition have questioned whether the taxpayer should continue to pick up the tab for the losses.

"I know there's a range of views in the community and it is a costly major event, but we've got it until 2014," Brumby told ABC Radio. "We'll look at whether we go beyond that, I'm not making any commitment beyond that."

The race lost £20m in 2007 and has posted losses in excess of £24m for the last three years.

Formula One has no shortage of venues and will boast a 20-race calendar next year after the Indian Grand Prix joins the schedule.