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Melbourne to stage Australian Grand Prix until 2015 04 Jul 2008

Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF108 with Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008 about to spin.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 16 March 2008 Dannii Minogue (AUS) Singer on the grid.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 16 March 2008 Ron Walker (AUS) Australian CEO gives a press conference to the media in the pits.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Monday, 10 March 2008

Melbourne will continue to host the Australian Grand Prix until at least 2015 after securing a new contract with Formula One Management. Contrary to media speculation, there will be no night races in Albert Park, but next year’s event will start at the later time of 5pm.

“The Australian Grand Prix has always been a great show, with some of the biggest crowds in Formula One,” said Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One Management CEO. “I have wanted changes to the local race time so that we can increase the television audience in Europe and Asia.

“I’m satisfied that the decision to move to later start time for 2009 races is a win for television audiences in Europe and Asia, a win for Melbourne and a win for Formula One as a whole.”

Melbourne has been the home of the Australian Grand Prix since 1996 and Victoria State Premier John Brumby welcomed the renewed contract: “Today’s announcement confirms what every Melburnian knows - we live in the undisputed major events capital of the world.

“The Grand Prix has been an outstanding event for Victoria over a long period of time and has helped put Melbourne on a global stage. Retaining the event is important to Victoria’s ongoing growth and prosperity."

In 2008, more than 300,000 people attended the four-day event and saw McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton win, the return of the popular V8 Supercars support series and a two-hour rock concert from KISS at the conclusion of the race.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Ronald Walker, congratulated the Victorian Government and Formula One Management on the contract extension.

“Formula One is good for Melbourne and Melbourne is good for Formula One,” he said. “We’re very pleased that’s been recognised by everyone and I’m extremely grateful to Premier Brumby and Minister Holding for their involvement and to Mr Ecclestone for his support. The team at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation will get on with what it does best - putting on a world class show every March at Albert Park.”

Next year’s Australian Grand Prix is expected to take place on March 26-29.