Despite the race having a contract to remain at the Albert Park circuit until 2015, the 80-year-old is becoming increasingly aware of the ongoing local concerns about the escalating costs associated with staging the race, particularly on the back of the record $50 million loss posted by last year’s event.
In an interview with the UK-based Express newspaper, Ecclestone hinted that Australia could find itself off the calendar as early as next year, despite having only conceded a week before that a race in Australia was a core part of the fabric of the sport.
The reason for Ecclestone’s wavering commitment is clear: there are plenty of countries and well-heeled promoted keen to tap into the opportunities of staging a Formula 1 race, and the highest bids could be enough to get the job done.
With the 2010 calendar already stretched to 20 races (if you were to include the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix), some fill find their heads on the chopping block, particularly with new races in the United States and Russia already on the horizon.
“We are probably going to have to drop two races to fit in Austin and Russia,” Ecclestone admitted.
“Australia are saying they don’t want a race. If they want to go, they can go and the next one [to go] is maybe one of the races in Spain,” he added, referring to the only country which currently hosts two
poorly-attended and/or soporifically dull Grands Prix a year.
“We are alternating in Germany so maybe that’s what we will do in Spain,” he added.
Ron Walker, the chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is equally well-versed in the risks that the Victorian State Government could revoke its support of the event, which relies heavily on taxpayer, rather than corporate, funding.
“We could be priced out of the market in 2015, and that’s what the government is saying,” he conceded to the Sydney Morning Herald.
[Original image via Guardian]