F1 grants two-year extension to Australian GP

Ten-year extension to 2035 was only recently signed in June.
  • Australian GP loses season-opening slot in 2024 to Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia requested an earlier race 'out of respect for Ramadan'

Formula One has signed a two-year extension to its contract with Australian Grand Prix, having given its season-opening slot in 2024 to Saudi Arabia.

The government of the Australian state of Victoria revealed that Formula One will continue to race at Albert Park until at least 2037, an extension to the original ten-year deal only recently signed in June.

That original deal contained a set number of season-opening races for Australia, which has traditionally acted as the curtain-raiser for the Formula One season having hosted every season debut between 1996 and 2019, with the exception of 2006 and 2010.

However, with Bahrain being granted this opportunity during the pandemic, the start of the season was set to be rotated between the two countries.

It appears that this additional extension has been granted to appease Australia, though, as the country had been set to host the start of the 2024 season. This has now changed, with a statement from the Victorian government revealing that Saudi Arabia will now see the lights go out for the first time in 2024.

The statement read: 'Part of the deal will see Melbourne host the first race of the Formula One season for at least four years between 2023 and 2037, with Saudi Arabia to host to the first race of the 2024 Formula One season out of respect for Ramadan.'

With Ramadan in 2024 starting on 10th March, that season is likely to start in early March at the absolute latest.

“To have secured what is now 15 years of further tenure for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne is an outstanding outcome,” commented Andrew Westacott, chief executive of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

“It provides so many benefits to our city, our economy and our exceptional events industry, not to mention the aspiration it provides to young Australians pursuing their dreams in motorsport.”

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