Aug 3, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT
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.
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