It is expected that next month’s F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne will be a tax payer funded event to the tune of some $50 million due to the loss of major corporate sponsors.
The hefty bill comes as no surprise to Victorians who have footed consistent losses of up to $40 million for the race over the past three years.
Victoria’s Labor Government, under Premier John Brumby, has been heavily criticised for wanting to keep the race in spite of its rising costs with most sponsors of the event cutting their spending by up to one-third.
This cost-cutting could force the state government to underwrite the event in a move that will push the State budget in to the red for the first time in 15 years.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation said its overall sponsorship revenue would not be affected, with many corporate supporters on long-term contracts, but its corporate hospitality tickets would be hit hard with BMW, Foster’s and ING all tightening their belts.
This year’s Melbourne F1 Grand Prix will be a twilight event for the first time, kicking off at 5pm in a bid to capitalise on international television audiences. Race day is Sunday March 29th.