Second Formula 1 race in Adelaide ruled out by Australian Grand Prix promoter

Oliver Harden
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, leads the pack away. Australia, April 2022.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari leads the pack away at Albert Park. Australia, April 2022.

The promoter of the Australian Grand Prix has ruled out the possibility of the country staging a second Formula 1 race at Adelaide in the near future.

The cancellation of the Chinese GP last week has left a vacancy on F1’s 2023 calendar with the sport planning to hold a record 24 races next season.

After a two-year absence from the schedule due to Covid, F1 made a triumphant return to Melbourne’s Albert Park venue in April in a race won by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, with more than 419,000 fans – the largest crowd for a weekend sporting event in the nation’s history – in attendance.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas appeared to fuel speculation on Monday that the much-loved Adelaide street circuit – host of the Australian round for 10 years between 1985 and 1995 – could step in to host a race in Shanghai’s absence.

“Naturally, we’re alive to any opportunity that may present itself, and we will put our best foot forward as a state when it comes to our position on the international calendar when it comes to major events,” he told Speedcafe.

However, Malinauskas acknowledged that Formula 1’s priority is to revive the Portuguese Grand Prix, which hosted two races during the pandemic-interrupted seasons in 2020 and 2021, as a replacement for China.

In June, the Australian Grand Prix announced a 10-year extension to ensure the race will remain in Melbourne until 2035 with chief executive of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation Andrew Westacott revealing the terms of the deal prevent a second race elsewhere.

“We’ve got block-out clauses to make sure that we’re the only one in Australia,” he told the same source at the recent Abu Dhabi GP.

“That’s really important, that it remains part of the contractual agreements going forward.

“We’ve got a strong position, as shown by the crowds this year.

“I think the bigger picture thing that I’m more focused on from a positive point of view is the growth of Formula 1, as a spectacle, as a drawcard for tourism and visitation.”

Westacott dismissed fears that the expansion of the calendar, with a return to South Africa’s Kyalami track said to be on the horizon, may somehow lessen the meaning of Australia’s race.

“I’m less worried because whether it’s 24, or 23 races, or 23, or 22 races, sort of matters, neither here nor there,” he added.

“It’s got global relevance, it’s got continuity, it’s on all continents apart from [Africa], but that will probably continue to be looked at into the future.

“So whether there’s 21, 22, 23, or even 24, is a little bit of a moot point for me.”

The 2023 Australian GP is scheduled to take place on April 2, with support categories F2 and F3 set to race in Melbourne for the first time as part of the revised agreement.

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