FEBRUARY 3, 2014
Melbourne in tough talks over F1 future
There is still no news about the future of Melbourne's Australian grand prix beyond the 2015 race.
That is the admission of race chairman Ron Walker, who said the state-sponsored organisers are still in negotiations about a new contract with the sport.
"I'm as confident ... as I can be," he is quoted by the local Age newspaper.
It is believed the Victorian government is pushing Bernie Ecclestone to reduce Melbourne's annual fee, as he has done with some other races, but
Walker said the disputed issues are in fact "nothing serious".
But Victorian premier Danis Napthine said his government is actually playing "a very tough game" in the talks with Ecclestone.
"It's a work in progress," Walker insisted. "It's just taken longer than we thought. I hope the impasse will be resolved soon. Hopefully, it will be concluded before this year's race."
F1 race contracts are typically of a long duration, such as seven years or more, but Walker said Melbourne's new deal could be for just "two years".
He said that would "suit the government, because they are not committing themselves to a long term".