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MARCH 9, 2003

Formula 1 gets a boost

There were fears before the Australian Grand Prix that another dominant performance by Ferrari would lead to a major drop in interest in the sport and a fall in the TV ratings. The impressive Ferrari showing in qualifying resulted in a lot of negative publicity with the local newspapers in Australia running headline ssuch as "Guess who?" and "The yawn of a new era". As a result of this and the wet weather in Melbourne on Sunday the crown in Albert Park was down by 10% on last year at 116,700.

The race itself however was an action-packed and exciting affair with victory being fought over by the three big F1 teams: Ferrari, Williams and McLaren. Victory went to the man who made the fewest mistakes on the day: David Coulthard in his West McLaren Mercedes.

The Victorian State Premier Steve Bracks was one of the thousands of race fans present and said that the race had been a "stunning event".