Aussie GP safe until 2015

Friday, 04 July 2008 00:00

The Australian Grand Prix has secured its future through to 2015 after race organisers came to a new agreement with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The popular season-opener in Melbourne came under threat when Ecclestone demanded a night race at Albert Park to allow the event to be broadcast at a more sociable hour in Europe.

However, a compromise has now been reached that will see the race held at 5pm local time (8am UK time) from next year – a deal Ecclestone was satisfied with.

“The Australian Grand Prix has always been a great show, with some of the biggest crowds in Formula 1,” he said.

“I have wanted changes to the local race time so that we can increase the television audience in Europe and Asia.

“I’m satisfied that the decision to move to later start time for 2009 is a win for television audiences in Europe and Asia, a win for Melbourne and a win for Formula 1 as a whole.”

For 2009 the race will retain its traditional position as the first race of the season, although at the slightly later date of 29 March.

Victoria State Premier John Brumby hailed the new agreement and said the grand prix was a boon to Melbourne.

“Today’s announcement confirms what every Melburnian knows: We live in the undisputed major events capital of the world,” he said.

“The grand prix has been an outstanding event for Victoria over a long period of time and has helped put Melbourne on a global stage.

“Retaining the event is important to Victoria’s ongoing growth and prosperity."


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