If Bernie Ecclestone has his way we’ll still be racing in Melbourne in 50 years. The current deal for Melbourne to host the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix expires after the 2015 race, but Bernie reckons Melbourne is ace and hopes to stay long after his time on earth has passed.
“We hope we’re going to be in Melbourne forever, although we do get a bit of criticism and I don’t know why,” he told the Herald Sun. “We’re happy with Melbourne and I’d be happy to sign a 50-year contract.”
In the past the race has come under heavy scrutiny from local and state governments, including Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, who has predicted 2015 will be Melbourne’s last race. This has prompted Ecclestone to court other locations. Formula 1 would have no troubles finding a new suitor should Australia lose their rights to hosting duties.
“We get proposals from other parts, but we’re happy in Melbourne,” Ecclestone added. “Everybody loves Australia and loves Australian people, and it’s good to be there … and Melbourne, in itself, is a nice place.”
Despite the welcome attention Andrew Westacott, Grand Prix Corporation CEO, is not taking Bernie’s love for granted.
Speaking to radio station 3AW yesterday Westacott said, “There is always a risk from the other states and this is why Melbourne can never be complacent when it comes to major events and doing things that is going to keep Melbourne in the tourist branding and business eye of the world.”
[Source: Herald Sun | Pic: Lotus F1 Team/LAT Photographic]