The Aus­tralian Grand Prix ex­tends its cur­rent con­tract to 2020

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Fol­low­ing on from the news that Mex­ico will re­turn to the F1 cal­en­dar in 2015 and that Azer­bai­jan will host a street race in Baku in 2016, it has been an­nounced that Mel­bourne will host the Aus­tralian GP un­til 2020.

Al­bert Park’s place on the cal­en­dar had ap­peared to be in doubt ear­lier this year as the Vic­to­ria gov­ern­ment went through its usual de­bate as to whether the race rep­re­sented value for money for the state’s tax­pay­ers.

And Bernie Ec­cle­stone stirred up Ron Walker, the race’s pro­moter and his long-time ally, to threaten not to re­new the con­tract be­cause of his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the sound pro­duced by the new F1 cars. Un­sur­pris­ingly, that turned out to be mere sabre rat­tling.

Aus­tralia’s new con­tract will come as wel­come news to all within F1, for the race is one of the most popular on the cal­en­dar. It is ex­pected, although not cer­tain, that it will re­main the sea­son-opener, a tra­di­tion it has held in all but two sea­sons since it took over from Ade­laide in 1996. But it raises ques­tions about the length of the F1 cal­en­dar in the fu­ture.

In the­ory, the sea­son is limited to 20 races. But adding Mex­ico and Azer­bai­jan to the cur­rent list of 19, most of which have longterm con­tracts, makes it 21 by 2016. And the teams want more races in North Amer­ica, ide­ally with events on the east and west coasts in ad­di­tion to the cur­rent two in Mon­tréal and Austin.

Race pro­moter Ron Walker: no fan of cur­rent en­gine sound

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