Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Castles in the sand // Australian GP future in turmoil once again

Published by Christine

Australian GP future in turmoil once again
Peter Fox/Getty Images

The future of the Australian Grand Prix has been plunged into doubt once again, as the Mayor of Melbourne has spoken out about the expense of hosting Formula One each year. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle would prefer if Melbourne did not renew their contract with Bernie Ecclestone past the current deal which ends in 2015.

The Australian race is a constant source of concern for Melbourne, and each year ahead of the race there is talk of whether it will be able to continue hosting the event in the future.

Doyle has the figures to back up his argument, saying: "In 1996 when the race was a combination of a four-day event and corporate sponsorship was far more generous than it is today, the race still needed to be underwritten by about $1.7 million. Last year it was $50 million." He predicts that in 2015, it will be as high as $70 million, and whilst there are natural benefits in terms of tourism and marketing the country to the rest of the world, it's still a big cost for the taxpayers to burden.

Boss of the race itself, Ron Walker, countered this with: "Its future is a matter for the government but the Grand Prix Corporation board does its best to keep costs down every year."

There are still a few seasons left before 2015 comes and goes, so expect this topic to surface again a couple more times, annually, before a decision is made.