The fate of the Melbourne Grand Prix may be sealed after the Victorian government announced Australians would not be footing the bill for a night race.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had insisted the race be held at night so that television viewers in Europe wouldn’t have to watch the opening race of the season during the middle of the night.
“The only way the race could stay in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Australia, is if it is staged during the night so that the public in Europe can watch it,” Ecclestone says.
The AGPC and the Victorian state government have already told Ecclestone that they would not fund a night race, which would require floodlighting the Albert Park circuit at their own expense.
“At the moment, it is ridiculous that people are asked not to sleep in order to see it live. That can’t carry on. The alternative is to pull the race completely from Australia,”
The aging F1 boss had said proposals for a night race were scrapped following talks with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, however a statement released by the PM’s office deny the conversation ever took place, suggesting 77-year-old Ecclestone may have been referring to talks with Victorian Premier John Brumby. (Thanks to TonyB)
“I’ve spoken to Kevin Rudd and he’s told me it would cost too much to re-stage the race, so I guess that’s it. We won’t be going to Australia for too much longer,”
The 2008 F1 Grand Prix season will kick-off in Melbourne on the 14th, 15th and 16th of March for potentially the last time.