Ecclestone resumes his annual Melbourne war-of-words

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing leads the field during the start of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 27, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)Feb.29 (GMM) Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday warned that F1 could ditch Melbourne after 2015, as he continues his (now traditional) annual attack on the Australian race.

The Albert Park event has a contract until then, but Ecclestone is pushing hard for the Australian organisers to agree to stage a night race.

“After then (2015), we really don’t know,” the 81-year-old Briton told the Melbourne newspaper The Age.

“If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia. Because I can’t see how Adelaide could make it happen, or anywhere else, if Melbourne can’t.

“The race itself, from our point of view, is probably the least viable of all the races we have.”

The Australian grand prix is also controversial locally, with its millions funded mainly by state taxpayers.

Ecclestone hinted that he might be prepared to cut the race fee if organisers agree to stage the race at night, providing a more suitable television slot back in Europe.

“We would have a look, maybe we could help subsidise that a little bit,” he is quoted by the Herald Sun.

He also told Australian reporters he will “probably not” attend next month’s season opener.

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