Melbourne to lose 2006 opener slot

Melbourne to lose 2006 opener slot

The Australian Grand Prix is traditionally the opening race of the Formula One season but in 2006 it will be moved to a different place on the calendar, due to the Commonwealth Games. The Games will take place in Melbourne, starting on March 15th,...

The Australian Grand Prix is traditionally the opening race of the Formula One season but in 2006 it will be moved to a different place on the calendar, due to the Commonwealth Games. The Games will take place in Melbourne, starting on March 15th, and Albert Park is one of the locations to be used. This has disrupted F1's plans, as there won't be enough time to ready the area for the Games if the GP was at its usual early March slot.

Albert Park Circuit paddock entrance.
Photo by uli@ulistich.com.
"We have a contract with the promoter for them (Australia) always to be the first race and we've scheduled our calendar with that in mind, not knowing what was going to happen in 2006," Bernie Ecclestone told the Australian media. "So it's something we need to have a look at."

Where the race might move to on the schedule is yet to be decided: "We need to have a look," said Ecclestone. "There are a few other events that need to be taken into consideration. They've also got dates fixed they're happy with, so we have got to ask some of those people to move. Which we will undoubtedly do."

Some races are under threat in the future, due to anti-tobacco laws and new venues vying to host a Grand Prix, but Australia looks set to continue. "We're moving to Asia, as you can see, but I think that's where the world will eventually move to," Ecclestone commented.

"So I think as long as Mr Walker (Ron Walker, chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and also chairman of Melbourne 2006, the Games organising authority) keeps delivering it the way he delivers we're happy to be in Australia."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone