F1

Ecclestone 'happy' to discuss Melbourne GP axe

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Bernie Ecclestone has angrily hit back at calls for the Australian Grand Prix to be moved away from Melbourne. The city's Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said recently that the annual Albert Park event is no longer value for money for the Victorian state...

Bernie Ecclestone has angrily hit back at calls for the Australian Grand Prix to be moved away from Melbourne.

The city's Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said recently that the annual Albert Park event is no longer value for money for the Victorian state taxpayer.

He speculated that one possible outcome was that the sport's "cranky" chief executive will replace the race by taking "the dollars of either an Asian or oil-rich Middle Eastern state".

Ecclestone hit back by warning that even though there is a contract in place to 2015, he would be "happy" to scrap the race.

"If the mayor thinks I'm cranky, I can probably be able to help him by proving it. If he's not happy with the event in Australia, if he wants to cancel the contract, we'd be happy to talk to him about that," the 80-year-old Briton said on local radio 3AW.

Melbourne is a popular and long-time fixture of the F1 calendar, but Ecclestone warned that the race is not safe even if authorities do want to keep it.

"I wouldn't say (it will stay) indefinitely. We've stayed an awful long time.

"There is no reason why we should leave," he insisted. "It's up to him, if he wants to talk about terminating the contract ... he should talk to someone in our organisation and see what he can come up with."

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