Melbourne happy with later calendar date

Australian GP chief Andrew Westacott says he knows Melbourne will no longer always be the season-opening grand prix.

Until quite recently, the race at Albert Park was the traditional season opener, but this year F1 reverted to Bahrain as the first race after a winter test in the island Kingdom.

And with Melbourne now inking a new contract with Formula 1 through 2035, notably including the FIA’s Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, Westacott hinted that the deal does not guarantee the opening round.

“This was only the third year (of not being the first race) and this was because of the timing of Ramadan, and the importance of those,” he claimed.

“We’d always coveted the first race, because I think there is something special about that. There’s a level of freshness.

“But in a city like Melbourne, you don’t have the ability to generate all the hype and media excitement in the same manner as when there were two (preceding) races,” Westacott added.

“So I think that as long as we’re race one, two or three and the timing is right, then that works out.

“You can build a lot more storylines, the fans can see what’s happened in the opening rounds, whether that be in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia or somewhere else in the future.”

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