Bernie Ecclestone says Australian Grand Prix could be axed

Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the Australian Grand Prix could be scrapped once its current contract expires in 2015, as it is the “least viable” race on the calendar.

The F1 supremo says the only way Melbourne can save its grand prix is to run the race under floodlights to make the timing more suitable for a European television audience.

Albert Park has been home to Formula One since 1996, when the race moved from the Adelaide street circuit, but Ecclestone envisions Australia losing its race if Melbourne cannot meet his demands, rather than moving back to Adelaide.

“We have a contract which we will respect – so up until 2015 we are in good shape,” the 81-year-old told Melbourne newspaper The Age.

“After then, we really don’t know. If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia.

“Because I can’t see how Adelaide could make it happen, or anywhere else, if Melbourne can’t. The race itself, from our point of view, is probably the least viable of all the races we have.”

“We have other races ready to take the place of Australia – which we don’t want to happen.

“But it would be wrong of me to have to report to our board, ‘Terribly sorry about this but we have to walk away from wherever to retain Australia’