Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Bernie Ecclestone would 'hate' to lose Australia GP

The Formula One commercial rights holder says the Melbourne race is as important to the sport as the iconic Monaco GP.

SYDNEY // Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights holder, says the Australian Grand Prix is as important to the sport as the iconic Monaco GP but he could not force Melbourne to keep it if it was too expensive for the city.

Melbourne has hosted the race on a street circuit at Albert Park since 1996 but there is growing opposition in the city to a renewal of the contract when it expires in 2015 because of the huge annual losses.

"Australia is as important to us as Monaco," Ecclestone said from London in a teleconference with Australian media today.

"It's part of the world championship and has been for an awful long time. We'd hate to think that we're going to lose Australia.

"In the case of Melbourne, if the product is too expensive for them, we understand that and when the contract comes to an end there's no need to renew it.

"We wouldn't force somebody to buy something that they don't want or think is too expensive.

"We get massive worldwide television coverage if that's not important well, OK, don't buy the product."

Formula One commanded an estimated worldwide television audience of 527 million last year.

Ecclestone was quoted as telling German media last month that the sport could do without the Australian race.

As popular a destination as Melbourne is with the teams, the time difference with the key television markets in Europe make it less desirable in marketing terms.

Ecclestone said in retrospect a permanent circuit would have been preferable to the expense of transforming the city park into a racetrack every year.

"I suppose in reality it would have been the right thing to do," he added.

"It would have been 10 years ago or whatever and it would have been built cheaper than it would be today."

This year's Australia Grand Prix takes place on March 27, restored to its traditional spot at the start of the season after the Bahrain race was postponed due to unrest.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National