It's now official, Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One supremo has pulled the pin on the Melbourne Grand Prix. The current contract will see Melbourne host the F1 GP until 2010.
The predicted negotiations appear to have been quite brief. Bernie Eccelstone's request for Melbourne to move to a night race appears to have been less a request and more an non-negotiable requirement. The Victorian Government has apparently refused to change the timing of the race and as a result there will be no more racing by the end of this decade.
"I'm sure Melbourne will survive without a Grand Prix," and that the city "?would be better without it," said a Victorian Government spokesperson.
The Victorian Government appears to see the loss of the race as the State's gain. Looking at the figures, hosting the F1 race has never turned a profit even taking into account the associated benefits from the world-wide exposure and the annual pilgrimage of race fans. The 2007 race lost a reported 35 million dollars.
Our loss could be Russia's gain, with reports that Ecclestone is planning to meet with Russian Government officials in St Petersburg shortly to discuss the possibility of a Russian F1 GP, effectively replacing the Melbourne event in the GP calender.