Webber’s plea to save Albert Park

Mark Webber has made a plea on behalf of his home Grand Prix to allow Melbourne s Albert Park to continue to host the Australian Grand Prix. His comments come amid speculation that when the current contract runs out in 2010, the Grand Prix will be moved elsewhere in Australia.

Due to escalating license fees enforced by Formula One Management, and thanks to a poor 2007 season which saw the race recording a heavy loss, the Victorian Government is growing less and less supportive of the event. Local press has speculated that the Grand Prix may be moved to an alternative venue such as the Surfers Paradise street circuit, or Flemington Racecourse.

Webber believes that Albert Park is the best circuit to host an F1 race and has said that huge amounts of money would need to be spent at any other venue to get it up to Formula 1 standards.

“There would be absolutely massive costs to get Flemington underway to hold a motor race,” he explained. “The other suggestions are also out of the question. I don t see how anywhere else would be anywhere near as good. I just can t see how moving it somewhere else gets away from the problem they re talking about. We need to make Albert Park work, that s what we have to do.

“I m not saying Albert Park is the only place ever in Australia you could race a Formula 1 car; I m just saying if you needed to get it to that level somewhere else the amount of cash to be spent would be staggering.

“The energy and effort that has gone in since day one to make Albert Park a venue to race at has constantly gained two or three per cent as a venue for us as an industry to go to, whether you re a driver, journalist, mechanic or team boss. From logistics from the time the cars get off the planes to spectators to get to and from there, it is brilliant.

“You talk to all the European spectators who come to the Melbourne Grand Prix and they say, my God, we can stay in the city, enjoy the city and go straight to the track