Australian GP gets thumbs up as season opener 15 March, 2012 Formula 1 entrenched in Melbourne Mar.15 (F1 Media) Following rumours that the Australian Grand Prix might be dropped at the end of its current contract, some of F1’s stars have insisted that it must remain on the calendar. With announcements of new race venues coming every few months it seems likely that several traditional grands prix are under threat, with Albert Park being a regular target. Several drivers took the opportunity during the FIA’s Thursday press conference to state their belief that the race should remain on the calendar and that it should stay in its present home. “I think it’s in the top three on the calendar,” said Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber. “I think that we should work hard to keep it here; I don’t think there’s many people who don’t like coming here. Of course the flight’s a little bit long but once you’re here it’s a pretty good place. We need to keep the best events because not all the races we go to are like this. “ Sebastian Vettel echoed his team-mate’s view: “Obviously it’s Mark’s home grand prix but I think that for most of us, Australia is far away but it’s definitely part of the calendar and should always be. I think the people here are very enthusiastic about racing, very passionate and I think it needs F1. It’s a great place to be and I’m looking forward to being here but also to come back in the future.” “I totally agree,” added Jenson Button. “This is the best place to start the season, it really is. I heard of talk of it possibly being somewhere else in Australia – I don’t know if that is true – but personally I love Melbourne. I think it’s a great way to start the season. The circuit’s obviously very different to most circuits we drive but it’s a lot of fun.” Melbourne has hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996 when it took over from Adelaide where a street circuit had hosted the race since the inaugural Australian Grand Prix in 1985. Subbed by AJN. Reports on GrandPrix247.com by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.