Despite the anti-grand prix sentiment regarding Government funding for the annual event, GP boss Ron Walker is confident that Melbourne will retain the Formula 1 Grand Prix beyond 2015 and has lashed out at the Victorian Government’s massive money injection into the Australian Open tennis tournament. Walker said the Open escaped the anti government funding sentiment because the sport was perceived to be ‘wholesome and family-friendly’ although it has had over $1 billion poured into it.

He said these events should be compared through their global audience share as tennis’ worldwide television audience was predominantly cable viewers, while the F1 race was on free-to-air TV in many countries. The grand prix will cost around $55 million this year, according to Walker, but it was on “a very good footing” for re-negotiating the future of the race next year.

The grand grix may look expensive but the Victorian Government has recently committed a further $368 million to keep the tennis open for the future. According to Walker, the decision whether to bid for an extension for the AGP beyond 2015 was entirely up to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.” If he thinks it’s good for the state he’ll renew it, if he doesn’t, he won’t.” Walker added that the government understood the importance of the grand prix in attracting the attention required to bring even bigger events to Australia and if Victoria were to lose the grand prix, it will never get back anything as big for 20 years or more.