x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Ecclestone will be absent for Australian Grand Prix

The Formula One rights holder will be in New York this weekend to discuss a possible race with the city's mayor Michael Bloomberg.

MELBOURNE // Organisers of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix say the absence of Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One rights holder, at the season opening race should not be read as the death knell for the event.

Ecclestone will not attend the Melbourne race but will instead be in New York to hold talks with Michael Bloomberg, the city's mayor, about a possible future race on Staten Island.

Ecclestone had expressed impatience at the local government's complaints about the cost of staging the Melbourne race, as well as the seeming impossibility of making it a night event to suit European television audiences.

Robert Doyle, the mayor of Melbourne, today said that "it is reasonable that we have a discussion about the grand prix when the time comes, which is when the licence fee is up again."