Ecclestone confident of new deal to keep Aussie GP in Melbourne


F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper that a new contract to keep Formula One’s season opening race – the Australian Grand Prix – at its current home in Melbourne is close to being completed. The race has been held in the city’s Albert Park since the 1996 season.

When asked if a contract extension would soon be signed, Ecclestone told the Aussie publication: “Yes. Sure, sure, sure. As soon as we get the ­lawyers sorted.” The current contract runs through the 2015 season.

Ecclestone has long favored keeping the Australian round of his World Championship in Melbourne, mentioning last year that he wanted to have the city on the schedule for another 50 years.

The price tag for the event has gone north of $50 million, however, keeping the race centered in public debate over its worth.

And while the race’s chairman, Ron Walker, is confident that Albert Park will host the race through at least 2020, the local government wants those operating costs to be reduced by a noticeable margin.

For his part, Ecclestone believes that the money aspect has been taken care of.

“I think that’s all been sorted,” he said. “It’s just the bits and pieces. [A new deal] will happen…Ron and I know what we’re doing, which is important and then we get the rest of it all together.”

He added his hope that a new deal would be signed before this year’s season opener, saying “there is no reason why it shouldn’t be.”

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

Photo: Getty Images
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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.