Ecclestone: Melbourne shouldn't complain
24 January 2013 – Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says Melbourne should be less opposed to the fees it pays to host a Grand Prix. The 82-year-old’s comments follow reports that 30 million Australian dollars of taxpayers’ money in the state of Victoria is put aside for the privilege each year, a cost which has angered many residents.
Melbourne’s five-year contract extension, signed in 2011, is said to be worth around 170 million dollars. Louise Asher, Minister of Tourism for Victoria, believes this is too high to subsidise, but Ecclestone insists the decision to stage a race remains with the state and is signed 'of their own free will'.
"It's up to them, isn't it?" Ecclestone told Australian radio station 3AW. "I can't make them sign a contract, they do it of their own free will. They shouldn't complain after they sign."
Despite the recent developments, Ecclestone says he would be more than happy to extend the circuit's deal beyond 2015:
"If they’re happy with what they pay for the event to take place, then I’m very happy."