Melbourne to alternate Aussie GP with Sydney? (Update)


An "audacious bid" to bring the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix to Sydney and "possibly race it across the Harbour Bridge will be launched by a ­­­re-elected Baird government," according to Andrew Clennell of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird announced that, if ­­re-elected on March 28, "work would start on taking the Grand Prix off Melbourne." Baird would establish a bid team featuring Rod ­McGeoch, who led Sydney's successful 2000 Olympics bid, and former News Corp. CEO John Hartigan, the chairman of Destination NSW. The team "would report to government by the end of the year on the economics of the race." Baird is interested in a "minimum three-year bid which would cost NSW taxpayers" up to A$180M ($138M) to stage the event.

One option is for the event to race across the Harbour Bridge, "back through the ­Cahill Expressway past the Conservatorium of Music and then down Bridge Street on to York Street in an approximately 5km circuit." If the bridge were used, "chicanes would have to be installed to ensure the cars went slower because the shape of the bridge's road surface would otherwise cause the cars to lift up."

The ­government has plans to set up a street circuit "similar to ­Monaco and Singapore." A public holiday would "likely be created on the Friday of the event, if it came to Sydney, to get everyone into the spirit." Victoria's contract expires in '20, but a decision on an Australian host city is expected to be made by the F1 governing body in '18.

Baird: "I want the Formula One to come to Sydney, because no other city in the world could provide a more spectacular backdrop for this event." Last month, the government announced it would "top up" its major events budget by A$123M ($94.5M) if elected with hopes for an NFL game, another Major League Baseball game, an NBA game or the F1 for Sydney. The extra money would take the major events budget to A$643M ($494M) DAILY TELEGRAPH

03/13/15 (GMM) Melbourne officials have scoffed at reports Sydney is lining up as an alternative host of the Australian grand prix.

Reports coinciding with Albert Park's twentieth consecutive running of the formula one race this weekend suggested rival state New South Wales' premier aims to take over from Melbourne once the new contract expires in 2020.

The reports said Sydney's proposed circuit would include the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"It must be election time in New South Wales," Victorian premier John Eren scoffed, according to local broadcaster ABC.

Indeed, at Albert Park on Friday, Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker – a famously close ally of Bernie Ecclestone – revealed that Melbourne's new 2020 contract even includes an option for five further years.

According to the local Herald Sun newspaper, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews confirmed: "There's every chance we could go five years beyond" 2020.

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