Deal for Melbourne race beyond 2015 is work in progress 3 February, 2014 “Little” Bernie Ecclestone with “Big” Ron Walker There is still no news regarding the future of Australian Grand Prix beyond the 2015 race in Melbourne, admits race Chairman Ron Walker, who said that the state-sponsored organisers are still in negotiations about a new contract with the sport. “I’m as confident…as I can be,” he is quoted by the local Age newspaper. It is believed the Victorian government is pushing Bernie Ecclestone to reduce Melbourne’s annual fee, as he has done with some other races, but Walker said the disputed this, saying that the issues are in fact “nothing serious”. But Victorian premier Danis Napthine said his government is actually playing “a very tough game” in the talks with Ecclestone. “It’s a work in progress,” Walker insisted. “It’s just taken longer than we thought. I hope the impasse will be resolved soon. Hopefully, it will be concluded before this year’s race.” Formula 1 race contracts are typically of a long duration, such as seven years or more, but Walker said that Melbourne’s new deal could be for just “two years”. He said that would “suit the government, because they are not committing themselves to a long term”. (GMM) Subbed by AJN.