Melbourne will host the Australian Grand Prix for the next 50 years – if F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has his way.
Ecclestone will reportedly offer Melbourne an unprecedented 50 year extension to host the race when he travels to Australia next month.
It’s an extraordinary pledge from Ecclestone, with the proposed contract 10 times longer than that normally offered, and one that marks a surprising backflip from the British billionaire.
Ecclestone has previously been critical of the Melbourne GP, reportedly upset at the race’s refusal to become a night event to ensure prime time TV ratings in Europe.
Melbourne’s current contract to host the race expires in 2015.
It will be the first time in eight years Ecclestone has travelled to Australia, with the details of the long-term deal expected to be discussed with Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker.
Should it go ahead, the proposed 50 year contract could cop heavy criticism. Each year the exorbitant costs of Melbourne’s GP makes headlines throughout the country, with last year’s race reportedly costing tax payers $56.7 million.
Melbourne has hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996.