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Australian GP to remain on F1 calendar
June 15, 2008 15:50 IST
An agreement for Australia to continue to host a Formula One race until 2015 is expected to be signed within days, local media reported on Sunday.
The future of the Australian Grand Prix was placed in jeopardy in March with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone saying that it might be dumped after 2010 unless it switched to a night race to accommodate European television audiences.
Organisers of the race and the Victoria state government, which helps underwrite the Melbourne event, have refused to stage it at night but suggested a compromise to move the start time to 1700 (0600 GMT).
This year's Australian Grand Prix started at 1530, 90 minutes later than in previous years.
While local media had suggested the race could be moved to Asia or to oil-rich Gulf states after 2010, it now appeared likely to remain in Melbourne until 2015 after both parties reached a verbal agreement for a five-year extension.
The contract is expected to be signed within days, according to Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on Sunday.
The race, however, would not be held at night.
"We have ruled out a night Grand Prix and that is not negotiable," Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding told the newspaper.
"This is a good event for the state. It's one we want to keep and we'll be working hard to ensure that it does remain here in Melbourne in the years ahead."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage