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Ecclestone to miss Melbourne

NEWS STORY
22/03/2011

It has been revealed that Bernie Ecclestone will miss this weekend's season opener in Melbourne and will instead travel to New York to discuss the idea of a Grand Prix on Staten Island.

As Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle does a U-turn and reveals that he will attend this weekend's race, claiming to have been persuaded to do so by local business people, Ecclestone will be in New York meeting with its mayor Michael Bloomberg who is keen to host a race in the city.

"As a result of what has happened in the last couple of weeks Mayor Bloomberg has been on to Mr Ecclestone,'' Australian Grand Prix corporation boss Ron Walker told the Herald Sun.

In January, Doyle said that it was time the city turned its back on Formula One, claiming that annual losses on the event could soon reach $70m AUD (42.3m). While the city has a contract to host the race until 2015, Ecclestone subsequently said he would be happy to bring the contract to a premature close. Indeed, last week he informed Pitpass business editor that the Australian events is virtually history.

"It's not just a fight against New York, it's a fight against everybody," said Walker. "Delhi is opening up, there will be one in Russia, Korea has come on stream... the other Arab states want it, so there will always be a fight.''

Asked if he remained confident that Melbourne might keep hold of the race, Walker replied: "I could be as confident as hell but if the Premier doesn't want it he doesn't want it.''

Even though a deal has been reached which will see Austin host a Grand Prix from next year, Ecclestone has made no secret of his desire to see F1 on the streets of New York and various other major cities including Paris, Rome and London.

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