MARCH 16, 2011
Ecclestone talks up Australia
Despite recent proclamations from politicians in Melbourne that the cost of the Australian Grand Prix is too high and that perhaps in terms of benefit the race has run its course, F1 commerical supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told Australian media that he would hate to lose the race.
"Australia is as important to us as Monaco," Ecclestone said. "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, okay, don't buy the product."
The Australian GP has been an ever-present on the F1 calendar since 1985, when Adelaide hosted its first race. Melbourne took over the deal at its current Albert Park venue for the first time in 1996 but the amount of support from Victorian state taxpayers has attracted increasing controversy in recent years.