Australian F1 race doomed after 2010, says Jones
Former world champion Alan Jones believes the Australian Grand Prix will disappear from the formula one calendar after 2010.
The race is unlikely to continue at Melbourne's Albert Park and has no chance of a future in Sydney, Jones said.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation officials are trying to persuade formula one boss Bernie Ecclestone to extend the contract for the Australian event beyond 2010.
Ecclestone has issued a variety of veiled threats about the race's viability, including suggesting recently it might move to Sydney. A feasibility study into upgrading the Eastern Creek track near Sydney to formula one standards was announced recently.
But, according to the 1980 drivers' champion, the Australian Grand Prix's days are numbered. "They're talking about spending $30 million on it, which would probably furnish Bernie's office, but I don't think it'd build a good F1 track," Jones told Eurosport.com.
"They're kidding themselves. 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."
The Australian Racing Drivers' Club has commissioned one of the world's leading motor racing circuit engineering companies to determine what would be needed for Eastern Creek to meet formula one regulations. The study will explore the possibility of building a major complex, which could host MotoGP and V8 supercar races as well as formula one.
Ecclestone claims Russia and India are two countries ready to snap up the Australian round if the contract is terminated, although grand prix officials doubt they will be prepared.
Club president John Cotter said the Eastern Creek study was "an essential first step in plans to ensure Australia remained relevant in world motor sport".
"Strong competition from emerging nations to secure major motor sport events threatens to marginalize Australia, with a resulting loss in status and tourism potential," Cotter said. The Age