Formula One: New Aussie GP deal finalised

MELBOURNE (AFP) - A new deal to extend the Australian Formula One Grand Prix beyond 2015 has been negotiated and only needs to be signed by the Victorian state government, organisers said on Friday.

Melbourne's contract to host the Albert Park street circuit race expires after next year's event and Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker said he had hammered out a new deal.

"I think that the foreplay is over so to speak and it's now a case of talking to the government about whether it is worth it or not," he told local radio.

"There is a deal on the table and it's up to the (Victorian state) cabinet sub-committee to recommend to Cabinet whatever they want to recommend.

"We can only do our best and we will see what happens."

Victorian tourism and major events minister Louise Asher said the government wanted the race to continue but would make a decision based on value for money.

"I haven't set myself a timetable, obviously we have next year's race and there is no need to rush on this," she said.

"I think everyone in the government wants the race. The assessment is going to be made over the price."

Last year, the Victorian government spent A$50.67 million (S$58.3 million) to host the event, compared with A$56.66 million in 2012.

Melbourne has staged the Australian Grand Prix since 1996 and hosts the season opener on Sunday.

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