Mike Stevens | Aug 28, 2009

THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX may lose its place as the opening event of the Formula 1 season, as Bernie Ecclestone lobbies to bring forward the Bahrain race to early March.

Albert Park’s status as a twilight event forced organisers to delay the race until the start of the daylight-saving period, pushing back the entire F1 schedule by nearly a month.

But Ecclestone's concerns over the early season void caused by Melbourne’s late March date has prompted him to consider converting the Bahrain GP into the opening race of the season, leaving Australia as the second stop on the global F1 circus.

Melbourne has traditionally held the season opening event since the Victorian Government poached the race from Adelaide except for 2006, when Ecclestone agreed to move the event to April as a result of the Commonwealth Games.

The expected decision to move the Bahrain Grand Prix though is unlikely to affect the scheduling of the Australian race, with the proposed March 28 race date set to remain in place.

Formula One head Bernie Ecclestone

Meanwhile, the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC) has agreed to consider accepting offers from investors to help renovate Silverstone and secure its future as a Formula 1 venue.

Silverstone will lose its place as the home of the British Grand Prix in favour of Donington Park from next year after Ecclestone grew frustrated at the BRDC’s refusal to conduct a thorough improvement of the track’s facilities, seemingly ending its affiliation with Formula 1 after nearly six decades.

However, the chance of a potential return to the circuit have now been boosted after the BRDC overturned rules banning private investment, passing a resolution which grants the board power to negotiate commercial agreements.

BRDC President Damon Hill told Autosport: “This vote is a significant result for the future of Silverstone.

"Today's EGM was not about selling Silverstone. BRDC Members were voting on whether or not the Board should be authorised to approach and negotiate deals, with potential investors, on behalf of the Club.

“It is purely commercial. Silverstone is an international sports arena and we are continuing with plans to develop it in keeping with the very highest standards.

"The primary function of Silverstone will always be racing, hopefully with a Formula 1 British Grand Prix.”

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