Motor racing’s premier Formula 1 (F1) series yesterday (June 15) announced the renewal of its agreement with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to keep the race at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit until 2035.
The new deal will also see the Formula 2 and Formula 3 series join F1 race weekends at Albert Park for the first time from 2023.
The renewal follows upgrades made at the circuit to improve the fan experience and team facilities, including the paddock and pitlane. F1 has described the changes as being “essential for the smooth running of the event over the next decade.”
The 10-year extension will follow the expiration of the current deal in 2025 and is the longest since the Australian Grand Prix moved to Albert Park from the Adelaide Street Circuit in 1996. It will take the circuit to 40 years of consecutive hosting.
A recent economic impact assessment of the 2022 event, which was the third round of the current season and took place from April 8 to 10, found that it generated AUD92 million ($64 million) of direct spending in the economy and boosted the gross state product of the state of Victoria by AUD171 million.
The full race weekend attracted a record attendance of 419,000, with the event having been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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The Australian race is one of a number to have had its hosting rights renewed this year, following on from the Emilia-Romagna, United States, Bahrain, and Singapore Grands Prix.
It has been reported this week that F1 is close to agreeing a deal that will see South Africa return to its calendar.
Meanwhile, F1’s US owner Liberty Media has sought to make inroads into its domestic market, with the Miami Grand Prix having attracted a record TV audience in the country when it debuted last month (May) and the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix added to the calendar from next season.
The contract for the Russian Grand Prix was scrapped in March due to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, while the Chinese Grand Prix hasn’t been held since 2019 due to the pandemic and remains uncertain for 2023, although it is contracted to 2025.
Elsewhere, the Dutch, Qatar, Saudi Arabian, Turkish, Styrian, and Portuguese Grands Prix have been added or re-added in recent seasons, some to replace others dropping off the calendar permanently or temporarily due to the pandemic.
It is thought that the French Grand Prix and Belgian Grand Prix are among those at risk of being dropped from 2023.
Stefano Domenicali, president and chief executive of F1, said: “I am delighted to confirm that Melbourne and the Albert Park circuit will continue to be on the Formula 1 calendar until 2035. The race has always been a favorite for the fans, drivers, and the teams, and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport.
This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the grand prix, and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow.”
Andrew Westacott, chief executive of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, added: “This is a sensational announcement that is simply great for Melbourne and Victoria. It builds on our rich motorsport history as well as Melbourne’s love of big sporting events and provides aspiration to the next generation of Aussie racing stars.
“We’re proud of our strong relationship with Formula 1 and together we will grow the sport in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Everyone at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation looks forward to taking the Formula One Australian Grand Prix to new levels over the course of the next 13 years.”