2009 may be the last race of the Australian Grand Prix
After the absence of the US Grand Prix from the next Formula One season it is possible that 2009 is the last season when a F1 race is held in Melbourne. What is the reason? It’s simple: money!
Negotiations over increased license costs were the reason that the US Grand Prix will not be back on the calendar in 2008 with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway refusing to pay the price, and if the license fees will be raise it’s very possible that when the current contract expires in 2010 the government of Victoria will refuse to pay. This year’s race cost Victoria state almost 35 million USD.
Victorian premier John Brumby declared to the newspaper Australia’s The Age: “The main reason for the increased cost of the Grand Prix is the increased licence fees. It’s not costing more to set-up the event, in fact we’re getting more efficient each year – the cost is going up because of the licence increase.” He also said: “It’s an event in demand around the world so places like Malaysia and Dubai are prepared to put more than 50 million USD a year in licence fees on the table. I think that currently we can sustain the costs but post-2010 the cost of licence fees is up and not down”
Since 1996 when Melbourne held the first Formula One race the Australian Grand Prix opened the Formula One season except in 2006 when two new entries in F1 opened the season: Bahrain Grand Prix and Malaysian Grand Prix.