Melbourne will no longer be home to the opening race of the Formula One Grand Prix, organisers instead opting to move up the V8 Supercar series into pole position.
Next year’s Australian Grand Prix (AGP) will be held in Melbourne on March 13-16, and will be the second race on the F1 calendar, after being season opener for 11 years.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker supports the decision.
“It’s not the greatest thing to have the first race anymore. We don’t get the team merchandise on time so there’s literally no team merchandise here for sale for the first race, now we’ll have all the team merchandise.”
He says merchandise a lot. Although it’s not at all surprising considering the 2005 Grand Prix cost Victorians $69.8 million, $6.7 million more than the benefits were worth.
Coverage of the V8 Supercar series has been all but desirable, with the Pukekohe round having been cut short by 7 laps to televise an AFL game. However Walker has said the shift would enable the V8s to be included in the race program and would not reduce coverage of the event.
Organisers of the V8’s have also rejected calls for a night race, and will instead push back the start time from 2pm to 3.30pm to accommodate international television audiences. With growing worldwide popularity of our roaring V8’s, in lieu of a night race, the new time is a great compromise as it works well for American and Asian audiences alike.
An Australian Grand Prix Corporation spokesman has said Bahrain was likely to host the first race next year.