Any lingering hope of Sydney hosting motorsport’s global circus was dashed this morning as Formula 1 renews its Australian Grand Prix contract with Melbourne in a big way.
The deal between Formula 1 and the Victorian capital was due to expire in 2025. This latest agreement, however, effectively binds the Australian Grand Prix to Melbourne for another decade. The arrival of 2035 will officially mark 40 years of F1 glory at Albert Park, having initially swiped the honour from South Australia back in 1996.
“I am delighted to confirm that Melbourne and the Albert Park circuit will continue to be on the Formula 1 calendar until 2035,” F1 President & CEO Stefano Domenicali expressed via statement.
“The race has always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and the teams — and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport.”
Additionally, for the first time ever, both Formula 2 and Formula 3 events will now be included in Melbourne’s race weekend schedule.
“I am extremely happy to add Melbourne to both F2 and F3 calendars from 2023,” notes Bruno Michel, CEO of Formula 2 and Formula 3.
“It further enhances the international aspect of both our championships, having them race on a new continent.”
“It also shows that more and more circuits believe that F2 and F3 are an added value to the Formula 1 Grand Prix experience, showcasing the next generation of drivers.”
It’s rather unsurprising Formula 1 has so readily committed to Melbourne for another decade given how this year’s estimated attendance swelled to a considerable 419,000 across the four days — the largest crowd for a weekend sporting spectacle in Australian history.
Whether this was due to The Netflix Effect or Albert Park’s two-year absence from the race calendar thanks to COVID-19 is anyone’s guess. All we know for certain is it’s a cracking good time to be an Aussie F1 fan.
“The resounding popularity of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for over two decades stepped up to a new level in 2022,” said Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Paul Little.
“And the addition of F2 and F3 means that future events will continue to offer new races for fans to enjoy.”
“This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the Grand Prix, and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow,” added Stefano Domenicali.
“I want to thank the Victorian Government, Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria; and Martin Pakula, Minister for Tourism, Sport, & Major Events for their tireless support for the event in Melbourne.”
“As well as Andrew Westacott and Paul Little from the AGPC for making this already long-term partnership secure for the future. We are all looking forward to being back in Melbourne next season with all our fans.”
Melbourne’s Australian Grand Prix joins an action-packed 2023 Formula 1 race calendar alongside the likes of Las Vegas and Qatar, possibly even a returning South African Grand Prix in Kyalami (contract pending). The French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard Circuit, on the other hand, will be dropped after next month.
Stay tuned for next year’s 24-event schedule when it’s finally confirmed.