F1 boss hints at having permanent Melbourne track

March 17th, 2011 - 2:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Mar. 17 (ANI): The Australian Grand Prix could continue beyond 2015 with a permanent circuit in Melbourne, hinted formula one boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone said that a state-of-the-art F1 circuit could be the key to keeping the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne beyond its current contract, which is due to expire in four years.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ecclestone, as saying that in retrospect, both he and Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker agree that when the GP moved to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1996, it should not have been run at the Albert Park street circuit.

But, he said he was still open to the idea of constructing a new track, which would indicate the race contract could be renewed when it expires in 2015.

‘Of course,’ Ecclestone said, ‘Ron and I have spoken about this a long, long time ago and I suppose in reality it would have been the right thing to do. It would have been 10 years ago or whatever and it would have been built cheaper than it would be today. But of course we would [consider it].’

The costs of erecting and taking down tonnes of infrastructure to transform Albert Park into an F1 circuit have been estimated at up to 14 million dollars.

The issue of whether Victoria should bid to extend the contract when it expires in 2015 was revived recently when Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle questioned its value for money.

The ensuing debate upset Ecclestone, who responded by saying he didn’t need the Australian Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.

But in a softening of that stance this week, Ecclestone said Australia was as vital to the series as formula one’s showcase Monaco event and he would not like to see the event go. (ANI)

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