John Harnden named new Australian GP chairman

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John Harnden has been named as the new chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) following the resignation of Ron Walker earlier this year.

Walker stepped down in April after 22 years in the role, having played an instrumental role in bringing a grand prix to Melbourne in 1996.

The Australian Grand Prix has remained in the city ever since, establishing itself as the traditional season-opener for Formula 1.

Walker was one of the highest-profile and outspoken race promoters in F1, leading the criticism of the new hybrid engines back in 2014 and threatening to turn Melbourne’s attention to IndyCar as a result.

On Saturday, it was confirmed that Walker’s replacement will be John Harnden, who has enjoyed CEO roles in a number of sporting events including the ICC Cricket World Cup Organizing Committee, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation and even the Australian Grand Prix between 1998 and 2002.

“I would like to thank Premier Andrews and the Victorian Government for their confidence in me and look forward to working with everyone to ensure these great events continue to not only showcase and benefit the state of Victoria but also provide unforgettable experiences for the fans,” Harnden said.

“I wish to congratulate Ron Walker for his vision and leadership over 23 years to make the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix two of the most iconic sporting events in Australia.

“His contribution to events in Victoria and motorsport in particular is unparalleled. His enthusiasm and relentless energy has been instrumental in showcasing Melbourne and regional Victoria to the world. It has been a privilege to work alongside him.

“The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix have entertained fans over the past two decades.

“This appointment is a great honour and I am excited by the opportunity to be able to build upon the success that Ron and the team have achieved.”

The 2016 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled for April 3, acting as the season-opener once again.