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Sydney or Adelaide may poach Aus GP UPDATE #7 The radical revamp of the Eastern Creek circuit near Sydney, could secure the long-term future of Australian Grand Prix, according to organizers.

Allan Moffat, a board member of the Australian Racing Drivers' Club, said he thought the work could be enough to tempt the Australian Grand Prix away from Melbourne - despite the Albert Park circuit’s recent deal to host the event until 2015.

Speaking to the Australian Daily Telegraph, Moffat said: "Bernie Ecclestone will get sick of Melbourne's refusal to host a night race. We would be in a position to take advantage.

"It would cost three times as much to develop a suitable facility on virgin land. We have the basis for it right here in the middle of Blacktown, Australia's fastest growing area."

As part of the £43 million plan to develop Eastern Creek into a 'super-circuit', the new facility would use more than 70 per cent of the current circuit and would be reversed to run anti-clockwise. Organizers have said that work could be completed in two years.

08/07/08 (GMM)  Rival organizers have not given up hope of stealing the Australian grand prix from Melbourne.

It was reported recently that The Australian Racing Drivers Club had, at a cost of some $350,000, commissioned a study into the feasibility of plowing $93m into the Eastern Creek circuit - located about 40 minutes from Sydney - as an alternate venue to Melbourne's Albert Park.

Since the report was commissioned, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone - despite pushing for a night race - agreed a new deal with Melbourne for a twilight event until 2015.

But ARDC board member Allan Moffat said: "Bernie Ecclestone will get sick of Melbourne's refusal to host a night race.

"We would be in a position to take advantage," he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph."

05/07/08 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, there is no to little chance that Sydney will pay the money for the GP as they would not pay for the V8 Supercar street circuit round!

We are hearing that Adelaide will once again stage the Australian GP as talks are moving rapidly and some of the states best businessmen have been appointed to a special GP board.  Adelaide has the best street circuit in the World (besides Monaco) with a great party atmosphere. The South Australia Government headed by Mike Rann love the F1 Grand Prix and they have said they want the race in Adelaide again.

Adelaide's problem is that it is significantly smaller than Melbourne and so is able to generate less income and thus cannot afford to invest as much as Melbourne. However Adelaide also has fewer people opposed to the F1 event and runs a very successful street event for V8 Supercars which annually attracts 350K+ people over the race weekend. Rann's government invests $1.2m a year in the event but considers this to be a real bargain. It is estimated that the visitors inject around $15m into the economy but these numbers would grow considerably if F1 returned because of the increase in out of state visitors.

05/05/08 (GMM)  1980 world champion Alan Jones has cast doubt on a Sydney circuit's ability to host the Australian grand prix in the future.

It was reported recently that officials of the Eastern Creek circuit, which is located 35 kilometers from Sydney, have commissioned a $350,000 feasibility study into a possible upgrade to accommodate the F1 event after Melbourne's contract runs out in 2010.

Alan Jones
But while the circuit is seeking government backing for the proposed project, former Williams driver and Australian Jones, 61, doubts the Sydney venue's ability to step up to formula one standard.

"They're talking about spending 30 million dollars on it, which would probably furnish Bernie's office, but I don't think it'd build a good F1 track," Jones, who is now involved in the A1 GP series, told Eurosport.

"They're kidding themselves," he added.

Jones was born in Melbourne, the location of Australia's current grand prix, but he also doubts whether his home city can retain the race.

"If I was a betting man I wouldn't say F1 is going to be in Melbourne either after 2010.

"I'd be sad to see the Australian GP go.  I'm a big F1 fan and proud of the way my country's hosted those events in the past," he said.

04/28/08 (GMM)  The possibility of the Australian grand prix moving cities from Melbourne to Sydney has continued to increase.

It is reported in the domestic press on Monday that officials in Sydney, the famous capital of the state New South Wales, have commissioned a major feasibility study into whether the Eastern Creek venue - already used by the A1GP series - can be upgraded to formula one standard.

The $350,000 study, to be carried out by the well-known Apex Circuit Design, is headed by the Australian Racing Drivers Club, the managers of Eastern Creek.

The ARDC hopes to demonstrate to the NSW government that the circuit - located 35 kilometers from the city - is a viable alternative to Albert Park in Melbourne and therefore deserves funding.

Apex is behind Britain's redevelopment of Silverstone, and is also involved in F1's first ever night race this year on the streets of Singapore.

Melbourne's grand prix contract is set to expire in 2010, and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone reportedly said earlier this month that Sydney "can hijack" the event over current the organizers' reluctance to stage a night race.

The Eastern Creek feasibility study will be completed later this year.

In typical Bernie Ecclestone style, he is pitting two cities against each other to extract maximum revenue from one of the two Australian governments.
04/13/08 This rumor is moved from 'false' today back up to 'speculation.'  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claims the Australian Grand Prix is not commercially popular enough in order to warrant its retention, and has stated the only way for the country to keep the event would be for it to follow Singapore's example and make it a night-time race, something Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker has repeatedly insisted is not an option.

Now, however, it would appear that Ecclestone has re-opened the door to the possibility of a race that has been held every year since 1985 remaining on the F1 schedule, with suggestions in the country's press that Sydney could be set to enter talks to host the event.

Having previously vowed that the race would be held either in Melbourne or not at all, the Sunday Herald Sun claims that Ecclestone has now admitted other states are in the reckoning too, threatening to take the race elsewhere should Victoria Premier John Brumby fail to convince him otherwise.

The paper adds that whilst New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has made no secret of his desire to steal away the race, Ecclestone has revealed the Victorian government has not shown any interest in keeping the race in Melbourne.

02/09/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Bernie Ecclestone has poured cold water on claims that the interest of rival city Sydney could rescue the beleaguered Australian grand prix.

Melbourne chiefs have made it clear that they will not bow to the F1 chief executive's demands for a night race, which could mean that, in 2011, Australia could be without a championship round for the first time since 1984.

The premier of rival Australian state New South Wales, however, recently said that he might be interested in making a bid for a race in the famous Australian city of Sydney.

But 77-year-old Ecclestone told the Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun: "There is nothing in Sydney -- they haven't even got a circuit."

The diminutive billionaire also made it clear that he is serious about not including Melbourne on the grand prix calendar of 2011.

"I'm sure Melbourne will survive without a grand prix," the Briton said.  It seems it would be better without it."

He said he agrees with Victorian premier John Brumby's position that if the F1 race is "not good value, they shouldn't continue with it".

02/04/08 (GMM)  The premier of rival Australian state New South Wales has expressed interest in poaching the embattled Australian grand prix from Melbourne.

Victorian premier John Brumby is believed reluctant to pen a contract to keep the race at Albert Park beyond 2010 on similar terms, as F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone warns that other countries are likely to occupy Australia's annual calendar slot in the future.

New South Wales premier Morris Iemma told Australian reporters on Monday that if formula one moved away from Melbourne, he might be interested in making a bid for a Sydney race.

"If it comes up in 2010 for the right price and the right deal, Sydney is the right city," he said.

Iemma's government recently established 'Events NSW'; a body with a budget of $85 million over three years to bring big events back to the state.

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