Australia may retain season opening slot in 2014

Start of the 2013 F1 season in Melbourne

Start of the 2013 F1 season in Melbourne

Australia may retain the opening slot on the 2014 calendar, despite reports that the sport’s controversial Bahrain race could steal Melbourne’s thunder as the scene of next year’s championship opener.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker was in London last week for talks with Bernie Ecclestone.

“We will be the first race [in 2014],” Walker told the Australian Financial Review afterwards. “Everything is going to plan for that.”

The situation was expected to be cleared up late last week, when the World Motor Sport Council met at Goodwood. But, unusually, a provisional calendar was not published.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, has backed his friend and ally Walker’s claim that Australia will still host the opening race next March.

“No, we aren’t making Bahrain the first race next year,” the 82-year-old told F1 business journalist and Formula Money editor Christian Sylt last week. “I think we will keep it as it is. It is just a rumour that it will change.” (GMM)

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