The Victorian Government has confirmed the appointments of Mark Webber and Kimberley Brown to the Board of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation for the next three years. The two appointments are effective immediately and follow Alan Oxley's retirement from the Board after 15 years of outstanding service.
Webber contested 215 Grands Prix over 12 seasons with Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull. With 9 Grand Prix victories, the Australian finished third in the standings on no less than three occasions.
He subsequently returned to Sports Cars with Porsche, winning the 2015 WEC title with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.
Hanging up his helmet at the end of 2016, he is now enjoying success as part of Channel 4's F1 broadcast team.
"The Australian Grand Prix Corporation plays a huge role in driving our visitor economy and bringing visitors to our state," said Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. John Eren MP. "Mark Webber and Kimberley Brown, both leaders in their respective fields, will undoubtedly add another dimension to the Board and ensure our events continue to go from strength to strength."
Webber, who was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 for "distinguished service to motorsport as a competitor and ambassador, and to the community through fundraising and patronage of a range of medical and youth support organisations", offers an incredible understanding of motorsport to the Board.
In another move, which will be welcomed by animal lover Webber, Guide Dogs Australia is to be the Official Charity for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
Guide Dogs Australia is the leading charity providing support for people with low vision or blindness through a wide range of community initiatives, and training and education programs, to maximise their independence.
"The Australian Grand Prix is a great platform to drive awareness of the work Guide Dogs Australia does every day to support more Victorians to live independently," said Eren. "It's great to see two iconic Australian organisations coming together to advance a great cause.
"Victoria has the best of everything, including the best car race in the world – and that means more visitors, more jobs, and a boost to our state's coffers."
"Guide Dogs Australia couldn't be more delighted to continue our successful partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation," added Guide Dogs Australia spokesperson and CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria, Karen Hayes. "The generosity of the Grand Prix fans enabled us to fund a new specialist cadetship program. Now we can get more people on the ground delivering services to people who are blind or have low vision.
"By 2020, we need to double the number of elite Guide Dogs in Australia," she added, "so our fundraising goal this year is $140,000, double the amount of money we raised at last year's Grand Prix.
"Every dollar raised will go towards training our amazing Guide Dogs to be the best of the best and enable many more people with low vision or blindness to achieve their goals in life."
Across the four days of the Grand Prix, Guide Dogs Australia will host several activations including a dedicated marquee where they will be educating fans about supercharging the senses and elite performance synonymous with both Formula One drivers and Guide Dogs.
All money raised at Grand Prix will go towards funding the intensive specialist training each Guide Dog requires.