• Australian Grand Prix

Ecclestone to fly in to help 'beleaguered' Australian Grand Prix

ESPNF1 Staff
February 5, 2011 « Schumacher won't be any better in 2011 - Hamilton | »
Bernie Ecclestone: a few days bin Melbourne seems likely © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone is planning to attend the Australian Grand Prix in what local newspapers are describing as a "mercy dash to Melbourne to help the beleaguered race in its hour of need".

The debate over the future of the event at Albert Park has been raging ever since the city's mayor said it was no longer representing value for money.

But the Herald Sun, the newspaper that first carried the story, has claimed Ecclestone, his 31-year-old girlfriend, Fabiana Flosi, and his socialite daughters Tamara and Petra also expected to be in Melbourne for the weekend of the race.

Race organisers, the paper claims, are said "to have begged Ecclestone to come to add some global prestige to the besieged event".

A spokeswoman for Ecclestone said she was "sure that it is his intention to be in Melbourne" and that was backed by other sources close to him.

Melbourne's Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle said he would be happy to meet Ecclestone to discuss his concerns. "If he wants to meet with me when he is in Melbourne then I would be delighted to," he said.

The event's chief executive, Andrew Westacott, said: "It's not a question of inviting Bernie, because at the end of the day it's his show. But he's always very welcome."