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Melbourne open to rotating opening race after new F1 contract
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Melbourne open to rotating opening race after new F1 contract

22 June - 10:34 Last update: 11:22


The CEO of the Australian Grand Prix says he is open to rotating the opening race with other venues, after Melbourne recently signed a new ten-year deal with Formula One.

The new agreement means that Formula One will continue to be held in Australia until at least 2035. Since the race was added to the calendar in 1996, the Albert Park circuit has hosted the opening round of the season every year except in 2006 and 2010, when Bahrain took on that role. Also in 2020 and 2021, the opening race did not take place in Melbourne; then the races were cancelled due to the corona pandemic.

Australian GP third on calendar due to Ramadan

This year the Australian Grand Prix returned as the third race on the calendar, to give the government of Victoria a few weeks extra time to prepare for the loosening of the strict rules on the coronavirus. Another big reason was Ramadan, which this year fell between 1 April and 1 May. For this reason Bahrain and Saudi Arabia did not want to organise their races in April.

During the podcast In The Fast Lane CEO Andrew Westacott talks about the circuit's desire to continue hosting the opening race. He also states that Australia does not want to organise its race during the Easter holidays for the same reason that Arab countries do not want to do so during Ramadan.

"We have always longed for the first race. I think there is something special about the opening of the season, the new liveries, teams. There is a level of freshness," he explains. "In a city like Melbourne you don't have the opportunity to generate all that hype and media attention in the same way as when there were two prior races."

Still, Westacott is open to rotating the opening race. "I think as long as we are race one, two or three and the timing is right - that we are there early - then we will be fine," said the CEO of the Australian Grand Prix.

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