Sydney step up efforts to seize Australian GP

Jon Wilde
A sign promoting the Australian GP. Melbourne March 2020.

Links between Sydney and the Australian Grand Prix have strengthened – as a result of comments from the Premier of New South Wales.

Dominic Perrottet believes Sydney has a “fighting chance” of snatching away the continent of Oceania’s only Formula 1 race from Melbourne.

Reports emerged towards the end of October that Sydney was looking into the possibility of seizing the Australian Grand Prix when the existing contract expires in 2025.

The idea would be to create a street circuit around Sydney’s famous harbour, similar to the Monaco Grand Prix location. However, it would not include racing over the Harbour Bridge due to safety concerns.

Perrottet is keen to bring more major sporting events to Sydney and said, quoted by Fox Sports: “We’ve got the greatest cities in not just the country but the world.

“And seriously, why would Formula 1 want to stay in Melbourne when you can come here?

“So we think we will have a fighting chance to bring that event here. But it’s not just Formula 1, it’s major events right across the country and across the world we are going after.”

Cars lined up for the start of the Australian GP. Melbourne March 2019.

Melbourne’s Albert Park has hosted the Australian Grand Prix every year it has taken place since 1996, although the 2020 and 2021 editions had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Previously, a street circuit in Adelaide was the venue between 1985 and 1995, and with the subsequent move to Melbourne the race was also switched from the end of the season to become the traditional curtain-raiser.

However, the 2022 renewal is scheduled to be round three of the season on April 10.

Perrottet’s comments were endorsed by Venues NSW chairman Tony Shepherd, who said: “The people of NSW love motor racing as much as anyone and we have a world-class city to stage it.

“We would need to choose the route carefully to avoid disrupting people, but it would be a great way to sell our city to the world.”

 

However, Australian GP chief Andrew Westacott is determined to keep the race in Melbourne.

He said: “We are very close with F1 and have a relationship that goes back decades. We have a relationship that will see us host the event here until 2025 and we want to look to the future as well.

“We are happening next year and it will continue to happen. Our remit is to look beyond 2025.”