The Australian Grand Prix will remain on the calendar in Melbourne until at least the end of 2025, Formula 1 has confirmed.
Bar 2006 and 2010, Melbourne’s Albert Park has hosted Formula 1’s season-opener since 1996.
The two-year extension between Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was signed in London.
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Australia first hosted a round of the world championship in 1985 in Adelaide, which was the home of the event before it moved to Melbourne.
Questions over the Grand Prix’s future in Melbourne have been ongoing, with the 2014 event costing taxpayers nearly $60 million. During the NSW election campaign in 2015, former NSW Premier Mike Baird said that he would work on bringing the Grand Prix to Sydney if elected.
Regardless, the Australian Grand Prix is the first real opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with the season’s new cars, with the popularity of the event in Melbourne skyrocketing in recent years thanks to the likes of home hero Daniel Ricciardo.
The last three years alone have welcomed over 900,000 fans, with an estimated attendance of 324,100 fans recorded at this year’s event, smashing the record set in 2005.
The 2020 event – to be held on 12-15 March – will not only celebrate the 25th Grand Prix in Melbourne, but Albert Park will also open the 70th anniversary season of the sport.
It marks another key decision in safeguarding the future of Formula 1’s marquee events, with Silverstone last week confirmed to host the British Grand Prix until 2024.
“The decision to extend the current relationship for a further two years stems from the fact this event has proved to be a resounding success for the capital of Victoria, for Australia and indeed around the world, proving immensely popular with fans and those who work in Formula 1,” Chase Carey, Formula 1’s chairman and chief executive, said.
“Today’s announcement follows on from last week’s, relating to the British Grand Prix and is proof that more and more promoters are sharing our long-term vision for the future of Formula 1.
“We cannot wait to be back in Melbourne, from 12 to 15 March next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this race being held there and continuing a relationship which will also allow us to celebrate at least 30 years in the city in 2025.”
Martin Pakula MP, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, added: “This is a fantastic vote of confidence from Formula 1 to continue racing in Melbourne until at least 2025.
“Victoria hosts major events better than anywhere else in the world and I’m excited that Formula 1 has chosen to exercise its option to extend the contract and enable the Victorian Government and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to continue to deliver more world-class events for Victoria.
“The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has contributed significantly to Melbourne’s standing as a global sporting and major events capital and the event is a key pillar of Melbourne’s and Australia’s international sporting calendar.
“It provides the AGPC with opportunities to further enhance and develop the event for the benefit of all fans and lovers of the sport of Formula 1.”