Ron Walker, chief of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said the future of the race is not in doubt, despite the FIA's threat to withdraw World Championship events from the country. After race stewards decided Minardi's cars did not comply...
Ron Walker, chief of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said the future of the race is not in doubt, despite the FIA's threat to withdraw World Championship events from the country. After race stewards decided Minardi's cars did not comply with the 2005 regulations, the team was forced to miss the Friday practice sessions in Melbourne.
Minardi then gained a legal injunction to allow its cars to compete and the FIA was not happy that the Judge had overruled its own appointed officials. The sport's governing body released a statement that said it would have to reconsider holding any Championship events in Melbourne if Australian law permitted such action.
However, Walker, who will meet with Bernie Ecclestone this week to discuss the situation, believes the Australian GP is safe. "I'm not going to get involved in the politics of the FIA," he said. "All we're saying is that this race is here to 2010 and Mr Bracks (Victoria State Premier) signed an option for another five years."
"We have this race because we're good at it," he added. "We Melbourne people do things very well, and that's recognised all around the world. We sleep very well at night. It's not in jeopardy at all."
As for 2006, when the date of the Australian GP will have to be moved to make way for the Commonwealth Games, Walker is hoping for a late April slot. Initially it was thought Melbourne would shift to the third race on the calendar after Malaysia and Bahrain but it could be slightly later.
"We're hoping for an April 30 date," Walker said. "That hasn't been confirmed and I'm certainly not getting involved in the decision-making process because that's the domain of Mr Mosley and Mr Ecclestone. But we're hoping for that date and that would make it the fourth grand prix of the season."