Date and new time announced for 2008 Aussie Grand Prix
Australia’s most prestigious motorsport, social and corporate event, the FORMULA 1™ ING Australian Grand Prix, will be staged at Melbourne’s Albert Park from 13 to 16 March next year, subject to final confirmation by the FIA.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation announced on Monday that the March date would allow the return of V8 Supercars to the track schedule.
The AGPC also announced that it would move the Formula One race to later on the Sunday afternoon but ruled out the idea of staging the race at night under existing circumstances.
“The current Formula One season is one of the best ever,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Mr. Ronald J Walker AC CBE said. “There are a number of teams and drivers in contention for the championship and we’ve witnessed the emergence of a new superstar in Lewis Hamilton.
“Last night Australia’s Mark Webber won his first podium of the season with third place in the European Grand Prix.
“So we can look forward with great excitement to the 2008 race in Melbourne.
“I’m also delighted that the V8 Supercars are back,” Mr. Walker said.
“This is a great win for everyone and especially motorsport fans. The combination of the world’s most popular race cars in Formula One and the V8s – Australia’s number one national category - is unique to Albert Park.”
V8 Supercars Australia Chairman, Mr. Tony Cochrane, said he was delighted that the V8s would be back at Albert Park in 2008.
"While it has been a very difficult task to match our complicated race calendars, with a lot of goodwill from both sides, this is surely a win for our teams and fans alike,” Mr. Cochrane said.
Mr. Walker said that the date chosen by the AGPC – which was subject to confirmation by the FIA - allowed V8 Supercars Australia to rejoin the schedule and avoided clashes with any other major events in Melbourne.
The decision meant that the Australian Grand Prix would be the second race on the F1 calendar.
“Taking all factors into account, this is the best option for our event and the people who support it,” he said.
Mr. Walker said the AGPC had advised the State Government that it would not be pursuing the idea of staging the Formula One race at night at Albert Park under existing circumstances.
“Our investigations have convinced us that as things currently stand, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages,” Mr. Walker said.
“Instead, we have decided to run the F1 race later on Sunday, moving the start time from 2pm to 3.30pm. We need to ensure all of our partners are comfortable with this and we’re working through that process now.
“Going later will benefit fans at Albert Park who will enjoy an even bigger day of entertainment and people watching the race live in other parts of the world…especially Europe where fans will be able to get up closer to breakfast time.”
Mr. Walker said other improvements to the event were being planned and would be announced over coming months.
“So the good news today is that for 2008 we’re offering Formula One plus V8s plus more attractions. We think that all adds up to an un-missable Melbourne event.”