• Australian Grand Prix

Ecclestone rises to Melbourne Grand Prix challenge

ESPNF1 Staff
January 28, 2011 « McLaren promotes Lowe to technical director | »

Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at suggestions the Australian Grand Prix should be moved away from Melbourne as, according to the city's Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, it is no longer value for money for the Victorian state taxpayer.

Doyle speculated that one possible outcome was that the sport's "cranky" chief executive would replace the race by taking "the dollars of either an Asian or oil-rich Middle Eastern state".

Ecclestone moved to call Doyle's bluff by warning that even though there is a contract in place to 2015, he would be "happy" to scrap the race sooner than that. "If the mayor thinks I'm cranky, I can probably be able to help him by proving it. If he's not happy with the event in Australia, if he wants to cancel the contract, we'd be happy to talk to him about that," Ecclestone said on local radio.

Melbourne is a popular and long-time fixture of the F1 calendar, but Ecclestone warned that the race is not safe even if authorities do want to keep it. "I wouldn't say [it will stay] indefinitely. We've stayed an awful long time.

"There is no reason why we should leave. It's up to him, if he wants to talk about terminating the contract ... he should talk to someone in our organisation and see what he can come up with."