FEBRUARY 22, 2006

The balloon goes up in Melbourne

The Australian Grand Prix has come up with a new promotional device: a hot air balloon in the shape of a Formula 1 car and while Grand Prix supremo Ron Walker may be risking suggestions about how the balloon is filled, the race management are enthusiastic that the balloon will bring in spectators as it cruises around the skies in the weeks ahead. There are plans for the balloon to fly around over Melbourne and also regional cities such as Geelong, Albury and Ballarat. The Grand Prix this year is not selling as many tickets as normal this year because of the Commonwealth Games and the opening of the AFL season but the management reckon that ticket sales are better than expected. According to local reports corporate ticket sales are down 5%, grandstand sales down 14% but general admission sales are up by 3%.

The balloon will be tethered above Albert Park during the Grand Prix weekend.