The Australian Grand Prix will remain in Melbourne until 2035 after Formula One bosses rubber-stamped a new 10-year deal.
The race at Albert Park has been a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since 1996 – bar the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 rounds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The current Australian GP deal was due to expire in 2025, but despite a number of rival bids – which is understood to have included one from Sydney – F1’s owners’, Liberty Media, have signed off on a long-term deal to race on in Melbourne.
This season’s event, which took place in April and was won by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, attracted 419,000 spectators – the largest crowd for a weekend sporting spectacle in Australian history.
“I am delighted to confirm that Melbourne and the Albert Park circuit will continue to be on the Formula One calendar until 2035,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“The race has always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and the teams and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport.
“This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the Grand Prix and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow.”
The Australian GP had become the sport’s traditional curtain raiser, but Bahrain has taken that honour for the past two years.
And it is expected that the Gulf Kingdom will stage the first round of next season’s schedule, which could stretch to a record-breaking 24 races – with Las Vegas confirmed for 2023 and the return of the South African Grand Prix in Kyalami also a possibility.
The French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard Circuit will be dropped after next month’s race, while the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps is vulnerable.