‘Least viable’ Australian Grand Prix could be dropped: Ecclestone

Melbourne: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says Australian Grand Prix is the “least viable” of all the races on the calendar and its organisers must make necessary efforts to retain the event after the contract expires in 2015.

“We have a contract which we will respect – so up until 2015 we are in good shape. After then, we really don’t know. If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne, we would probably be walking away from Australia,” Ecclestone said.

“Because I can’t see how Adelaide could make it happen, or anywhere else, if Melbourne can’t. The race itself, from our point of view, is probably the least viable of all the races we have,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the 2012 season opener here March 18.

Ecclestone said the countries were ready to replace Australia and the organisers should think of holding a night race at the Albert Park venue to suit the timings of the global viewers.

“But it would be wrong of me to have to report to our board, ‘Terribly sorry about this but we have to walk away from wherever to retain Australia’.”

Talking about the forthcoming season, Ecclestone said Red Bull’s Mark Webber was the biggest threat to his World Champion teammate Sebasitan Vettel.

“I just hope, I really, really, genuinely hope that Mark has a good crack at the title this year because it would be nice to see,” Ecclestone said.

“I even think perhaps, in a funny way, Sebastian would be happy as well if he won the title – provided he couldn’t.”

“I think Mark will be the guy who will threaten him if anybody. He is really motivated now.”

“I think he realises. I said to him, ‘Sebastian is quick. You have got to be quicker. Keep your head down and don’t make mistakes you could manage to get the job done’.”