Australian GP gets new F1 contract through 2020

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The Australian Grand Prix will remain in Melbourne until 2020 after a new five-year contract was announced on Saturday by the state premier of Victoria, Denis Napthine.

The city has hosted the race since 1996 after picking up the contract from Adelaide, but with its current deal set to run out after the 2015 race, there were some doubts about the future of Formula 1 in Australia.

Race promoter Ron Walker was one of the biggest critics of the new sound and formula of the sport after the Australian Grand Prix hosted the first race with the V6 power units and revamped cars. However, he has managed to agree a new deal with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone which ensures that the sport will continue to visit Australia for the next six years.

According to AP, the contract also states that the race will remain as the first of each season and will not become a night race.

“I can tell you the new contract is significantly better for Victoria,” Napthine said. “This reaffirms Melbourne and Victoria as the sporting and major events capital of the world.”

Ecclestone was also pleased to sign the new deal, saying: “I congratulate Melbourne for the excellent way in which is presents Formula 1 to the world.”

As the sport continues to explore new markets and new races, it is good to see an established and popular event such as the Australian Grand Prix get a new contract.

The success of home driver Daniel Ricciardo will also have played a part in the new deal. The Red Bull driver has claimed two race wins so far this year, and is quickly establishing himself to be one of the most popular figures in the sport as well as a highly talented driver.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”