The Victorian Government wants to keep the Australian F1 Grand Prix beyond 2015, but only with new contract terms.
That is the latest development in the saga surrounding Melbourne's future on the F1 calendar, after powerbrokers Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone this week said Australia is important to the sport.
But there is a long-running debate in Victoria about the rising cost to taxpayers of the annual event. It was the previous Bracks Labor government that negotiated the current deal that is not set to expire until 2015.
"There's no doubt about it that the Victorian Government would want to secure the Grand Prix," Major Events Minister Louise Asher told Reuters.
"It's just that we're not going to be bunnies in contractual negotiations."
Ecclestone To Push For Less Teams In New F1 Deal
Bernie Ecclestone has continued to argue that ten teams is a better number for Formula One.
The F1 Chief Executive was a staunch critic of the sport's three new stragglers last year, but he has since said Team Lotus is a worthy competitor.
"I'm very happy that they are back," Ecclestone told the BBC. "They will get on their feet and then sponsors will be attracted to them and we'll see them grow.
"Frank Williams was like that years ago," added the 80-year-old.
As for Virgin and HRT, however, he told Reuters late last season that "one or two of them (the new teams) shouldn't be there perhaps ... it's a bit rich for their blood".
When asked how the 2011 season will be for them, he answered simply: "Difficult.
"Twelve teams is too many. Ten is enough," added Ecclestone.
A report in Spain's El Mundo Deportivo said the Briton actually wants to drop the limit for the maximum number of teams from 13 to 10 for the new 2013 Concorde agreement.
The report said Ecclestone thinks ten is a better number to financially look after the teams and ensure there are enough good sponsors to go around.
Technical boss Mike Gascoyne said he is determined to move Team Lotus forward this year.
"Formula one is about competition, it's the peak of motor sport, you shouldn't be there as a spare part," he said.
Virgin has also vowed to raise its game but had the slowest 2011 car in recent testing, while HRT will only run its new car for the first time in Melbourne next Friday.
Referring to 2010, Virgin boss John Booth said: "We thought F1 was achievable the way we were doing it, and we thought it was a wonderful thing. But you soon get the wake-up call, don't you?"
Ecclestone To Fight Todt Over 2013 Engines
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he is "at loggerheads" with FIA President Jean Todt about F1's engine formula for 2013.
Todt has announced new 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbo regulations, but Ecclestone on Thursday admitted he fears it will rob the sport of one of its two most important factors.
According to Australian news agency AAP, he said one crucial factor "is
Ferrari and second is the noise" of the big normally-aspirated engines.
The 80-year-old said he is so worried that he fears television broadcasters will stop buying the rights to F1.
"I'm anti, anti, anti, anti moving into this small turbo four formula," he said.
"We don't need it and if it's so important it's the sort of thing that should be in saloon car racing.
"The rest of it is basically PR -- it's nothing in the world to do with Formula One.
"These changes are going to be terribly costly to the sport. I'm sure the promoters will lose a big audience and I'm quite sure we'll lose TV," he added.
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