Australia likely to lose GP - Ecclestone UPDATE #3 Event chairman Ron Walker says the future of the Australian Grand Prix is safe, despite reported comments from Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone that the race would be more financially viable elsewhere. The contract for the 25-year-old Australian race, held first in Adelaide and then in Melbourne since 1996, is up for renewal in 2010. On Sunday, News Limited newspapers quoted Ecclestone as saying the contract might not be renewed.
"Maybe we don't want to be in Australia," Ecclestone was quoted as saying. "Our costs are very high in Australia and we get a lot less money. It's bloody bad for us."
Ecclestone said the race would make more money in Russia, India or South Korea, and also said the race should be held at night to attract an American television audience.
"We've got quite a few places on the list which would like to have Formula One and as it seems your guy (Victorian state Premier John Brumby) down there doesn't want Formula One, we can make him happy and make the other people happy."
Brumby has raised doubts about the race, which has been steadily losing money. This year's race is scheduled for March 16 on the city's temporary Albert Park circuit.
Walker said Sunday the race continues to be viable.
"When you look at other Grand Prix around the world in China, Dubai and Malaysia they don't get anything like the attendances we get in Melbourne," Walker said.
He described threats that Melbourne could lose the race as a "storm in a teacup."
"This will just blow over and negotiations will take place in a normal fashion," he said. Canadian Press02/04/08 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. The Victoria Premier John Brumby says the State is not prepared to keep the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne at any price. Mr. Brumby has responded to comments from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who was reported as saying that Melbourne's contract to hold the race, due to expire in 2010, has little chance of being renewed. The grand prix lost over $30 million dollars last year and Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker predicts it will blow out even more this year. Mr. Brumby says the event must continue to provide value for money if it is to stay in Melbourne beyond the current contract and that will be decided when new negotiations are held.
02/03/08 Just like other circuits before them have done, the Australian Grand Prix has come under threat of abolishment from Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, as it is not paying enough money to make the trip down under worthwhile, nor is it willing to host a race at night.
Other tracks, such as Spa Francorchamps in Belgium and Gilles Villeneuve in Canada, know what it is like to be threatened with extinction by the FOM chief and ever since organizers stated it would be too expensive to light the Albert Park circuit, the sound of the hammer falling could be heard.
Word is now that the race won’t be extended after the end of its 2010 ending contract, at Albert Park, or any other Australian venue, with venues such as Russia and India vying for a slot on the championship calendar.
"Maybe we don't want to be in Australia," Ecclestone was quoted as saying to News Ltd. "Our costs are very high in Australia and we get a lot less money. It's bloody bad for us. We've got quite a few places on the list which would like to have Formula One and as it seems your guy (Victorian Premier John Brumby) down there doesn't want Formula One, we can make him happy and make the other people happy."
Ecclestone is referring to Brumby’s comments after the hefty financial losses of the 2007 event, attributed in part to the lack of V8 action, the first time the local championship failed to support the GP, however, he did say it may be retained, but only of a night race was put in place.
"In Melbourne, if we were to continue to be there, we would have to have a night race," he said.
As it stands, Australian fans are forced to wait until the wee hours of a Monday morning, and that is usually for a delayed telecast with only a few races available to them live, and just one of them, their home event, is on at the same time of day the European fans have the pleasure of viewing 90% of the races, Sunday afternoon. Even the Malaysian Grand prix, which is in a very close time zone, is delayed until late Sunday evening due to programming restrictions and now Ecclestone is trying to take that away as well, leaving Aussie fans as the innocent victims of his attempt to give the races to the European fan base at a convenient hour, 100% of the time.
When told of Ecclestone comments to ‘quit Australia, GP organizer Ron Walker told the Sunday Age…
“Does he? I think this is Bernie being Bernie, quite frankly." 02/02/08 (GMM) Formula one is not likely to return to Australia after the expiry of the current contract in 2010, the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has said.
After the country's first world championship round was held in 1985 in Adelaide, subsequently switching to Melbourne in 1996, the 77-year-old told News Ltd. that the lure of attractive alternative destinations like India, Russia and Korea is too strong to ignore.
F1 supremo Ecclestone also expressed little sympathy for concerns the Victorian state government has about the rising costs involved in staging the annual race, and Premier John Brumby's reluctance to embrace the concept of a night race.
"Maybe we don't want to be in Australia," Bernie said.
"Our costs are very high in Australia and we get a lot less money. It's bloody bad for us.
"We've got quite a few places on the list which would like to have formula one and as it seems your guy down there doesn't want formula one, we can make him happy and make the other people happy," the British billionaire added.
Ecclestone said sponsors and manufacturers support his stance about Australia, including a strict ultimatum about needing the race to be held at night if it were to stay on the calendar.
"If we were to continue to be there, we would have to have a night race," he said, also ruling out moving the event to a different Australian state.