Over the last 23 years it’s become the traditional curtain raiser. 2006 and 2010 just didn’t feel right with Bahrain first – particularly 2010 and the endurance layout. And, it’s been a good couple of weeks for existing tracks extending their deals – first Silverstone and now the enchanting half-street/half-permanent race track around the distinctively-shaped Albert Park lake.
The agreement, signed in London, ensures that the Australian GP will reach its 40th birthday and it’s 29th in Melbourne – as Adelaide hosted the event from the inaugural 1985 race to 1995 inclusive. It’s a popular one too for the sports-mad Australians and the various globe-trotting F1 fanbase, with an average attendance of 300,000 over the last three grands prix there.
F1 CEO Chase Carey paid tribute to that figure in a statement released on Thursday, calling the race a “resounding success” for all parties involved, and predicts quite the festival to kick off the 2020 season next March.
“We are pleased to have renewed our partnership with the city of Melbourne, which will now host the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix until at least 2025. The decision to extend the current relationship for a further two years stems from the fact this event has proved to be a resounding success for the capital of Victoria, for Australia and indeed around the world, proving immensely popular with fans and those who work in Formula 1.
“Working along with our partner, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, we plan to make the Australian Grand Prix even more exciting and spectacular, as a sporting event and as a form of entertainment. Today’s announcement follows on from last week’s, relating to the British Grand Prix, and is proof that more and more promoters are sharing our long-term vision for the future of Formula 1. We cannot wait to be back in Melbourne, from 12 to 15 March next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this race being held there and continuing a relationship which will also allow us to celebrate at least 30 years in the city in 2025.”
Martin Pakula MP, the Tourism, Sport and Major Events Minister for Victoria, said that the grand prix is an important event in the state’s sporting year and will bring all sorts of positive effects to the representing board and the city of Melbourne. He also said that they know how to put on a show, although hopefully the official season launch event will further kick on next year.
“This is a fantastic vote of confidence from Formula 1 to continue racing in Melbourne until at least 2025. Victoria hosts major events better than anywhere else in the world and I’m excited that Formula 1 has chosen to exercise its option to extend the contract and enable the Victorian Government and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) to continue to deliver more world-class events for Victoria.
“The Australian Grand Prix has contributed significantly to Melbourne’s standing as a global sporting and major events capital and the event is a key pillar of Melbourne’s and Australia’s international sporting calendar. Beyond the direct benefits to Melbourne and Victoria arising out of Formula 1’s decision, the contract extension until 2025 also provides benefits and confidence for Victoria’s events industry and the associated supplier base to the AGPC. Additionally, it provides the AGPC with opportunities to further enhance and develop the event for the benefit of all fans and lovers of the sport of Formula 1.”
A unique and great track in a city that loves its sport. And this adds to my prediction of 21 races but no cars or drivers. Come on teams, get signing.