Formula One: Melbourne to host Australian Grand Prix until 2035

The current contract for the race at Albert Park was due to expire in 2025. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS, AFP) - Melbourne will host the Australian Grand Prix until 2035 in a new deal that will also see Formula Two and Formula Three added to the schedule for the first time next year, Formula One and local organisers announced on Thursday (June 16).

The current contract for the race at Albert Park was due to expire in 2025 and Sydney had expressed an interest in taking it on.

Melbourne joined the calendar in 1996, taking the place of Adelaide, and Formula One will have been there nearly 40 years by the time the latest deal ends.

More than 419,000 fans attended this year's race in April, the largest crowd ever for a weekend sporting event in Australia.

The race, which was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, has been a season opener but was third on this year's calendar.

It is not expected to return to the prime slot taken by Bahrain, although Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Andrew Westacott told Reuters in April that he wanted the race to be held early in the season.

Formula One chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali said the race had always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and teams.

"Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport," he added.

The paddock and pit lane facilities will be upgraded as part of the deal.

Formula One said that next year's date would be announced "in due course".

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