• Australian Grand Prix

More calls to axe Australian Grand Prix

ESPNF1 Staff
February 21, 2011 « Spanish GP only guaranteed for next two years | »
Albert Park and the Australian Grand Prix continue to be under the spotlight © Sutton Images

A Melbourne MP has added his voice to those calling for the Australian Grand Prix to be axed when the current deal expires in 2015.

"The grand prix may have been a good deal in 1996, when it cost the government only $1.7 million; but, with falling crowd numbers and taxpayers footing a $50 million-a-year bill, the government should cut its losses and walk away," Michael Danby told the Victorian parliament.

Danby, who claimed a straw poll of local residents had come out 10 to one against retaining the race, continued: "Rising costs, dwindling crowds, fed-up local residents, an ambivalent Melbourne mayor ... to me, everything points to Melbourne saying 'thanks for the memories' but gracefully declining to renew the contract."

In January Robert Doyle, the city's mayor, launched a stinging attack on the escalating costs of the grand prix.

"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," Bernie Ecclestone countered. "If he wishes to cease having the event in Melbourne, I am happy to discuss that with him."