Melbourne delayed in 2006

Melbourne will not host the opening Grand Prix of the F1 season in 2006 due to a clash with the Commonwealth Games, said Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Association Ron Walker. The Games are scheduled for the 15th and 16th of March next year...

Melbourne will not host the opening Grand Prix of the F1 season in 2006 due to a clash with the Commonwealth Games, said Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Association Ron Walker. The Games are scheduled for the 15th and 16th of March next year and the city could not be prepared in time if it also hosted the Grand Prix in its traditional early March spot.

"I can categorically say the Grand Prix won't be in March," Walker stated. "I can't rely on builders to clean up Albert Park in time and I'm not confident there's enough disposable money in the marketplace for two events at one time."

Walker said that losing the season opener spot for one year did not mean Melbourne would permanently miss out on its traditional place on the calendar. "I have a contract, a long-term contract for the first race," he said. The contract runs until 2010 with an option to renew for a further five years.

It's likely that the Australian GP will move to the third slot on the 2006 calendar after Malaysia and Bahrain. Come 2007 Melbourne will revert to its usual place as the season opener. "We're only going to lose it for a moment in time," Walker added.

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Series Formula 1