• Australian Grand Prix

Ecclestone keen for Melbourne stay

ESPN Staff
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Albert Park has hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996 © Getty Images
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Bernie Ecclestone says he wants Melbourne to remain the host city of the Australian Grand Prix.

Having hosted the race since 1996 - when it took over from Adelaide - Melbourne has a contract until 2015 but its viability has been questioned by local politicians on numerous occasions due to the costs incurred by the Victoria state taxpayer. However, Ecclestone says he has been given reassurances that the race is valued by the state and says for his part he wants to remain in Melbourne.

"We hope we're going to be in Melbourne forever," Ecclestone told the official Australian Grand Prix podcast. "We're happy with Melbourne and I'd be happy to sign a 50-year contract. We don't have a problem with Melbourne.

"I understand we do get a little bit of criticism. I don't know why. You start wondering are we really wanted in Melbourne? It appears to be (wanted) now; whenever these sorts of things happen I'm told, 'Don't be silly about that, it's just one or two people making a noise. We're happy for Formula One to be there."'

However, Ecclestone did warn that he has been approached by rival states looking to take the race elsewhere in the past.

"We get proposals from other parts, but we're happy in Melbourne. Everybody loves Australia and loves Australian people, and it's good to be there ... and Melbourne, in itself, is a nice place."