Sydney evaluating F1 street track plan to lure Australian GP away from Melbourne

2021 F1 season

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The city of Sydney is considering a bid to replace Melbourne as the home of the Australian Grand Prix.

A local report claims the New South Wales government wants to lure the race away from the Victorian capital as part of its plan to reinvigorate its economy following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stuart Ayres, the minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney, is behind the push to bring F1 to the city for the first time, according to the report by Seven News.

The city already has a permanent road course, Sydney Motorsport Park in Eastern Creek, which previously hosted the short-lived A1 Grand Prix single-seater series. However the local government is thought to favour a street circuit incorporating the city’s famous waterfront.

Mark Webber demonstrated a Williams Formula 1 car in the city in 2005, driving across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (pictured). But the six-lane highway spanning the harbour is not expected to form part of the city’s track plans.

Melbourne’s current deal to hold Australia’s F1 race runs until 2025. It took over from Adelaide as the home of the Australian Grand Prix in 1996. The first world championship race in the country was held in 1985.

Australia’s race was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Teams travelled to the city for last year’s season-opening event, but it was abandoned hours before Friday practice was due to begin, after it emerged a member of McLaren’s team had tested positive for Covid-19.

Melbourne has invested in its circuit, remodelling several corners ahead of this year’s cancelled round, in the hope of improving the quality of racing at the track.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 34 comments on “Sydney evaluating F1 street track plan to lure Australian GP away from Melbourne”

    1. Sydney Motorsport Park doesn’t hold the necessary FIA Grade.
      I doubt the street track proposal, even if only 2026 at the very earliest, happens.

      1. It’s also exceedingly dull – like a bad Formula E track.

        1. Agreed. Having lived in both cities (grew up in Sydney and have lived in Melbourne for 20 years) I think this is nothing but media hype.

          1. Has to be hype. The economic risk to invest in this kind of project is now far far far than it was pre-2020.

          2. Melbourne poached the race from Adelaide, can’t see why it would remain sacred and be held forevermore in Victoria though I agree with sentiments that Sydney Motorsport Park would be a snorefest.

    2. Let’s go back to Adelaide please!

      1. Adelaide circuit might be getting knocked down! shame though…

      2. Please stop. The Adelaide track was AWFUL! You’re being fooled by the memories of the 80’s cars looking great on that track. Those cars looked great and raced great anywhere. The track would offer a horendous GP today.

        1. Maybe we should make the cars like we used to then!

      3. I also want adelaide, was interesting and since I started watching they always raced at a much more boring track.

    3. To invest the kind of money into a brand new F1 event when the precedent that the whole thing could be cancelled at very short notice kinda seems foolish to me.

      The OECD has put out quite an alarming report that basically says if we don’t turn around the economic damage imposed by the governments of the last 18 months we’re going to get a measurable decline in living standards. Which lets face it, we already are with inflation etc… and it’s MUCH worse for those in less developed regions of the planet.

      So you have a scenario where governments are starting to face reality and know they have to get the economy moving at a miraculous pace, but a risk-evaluation that says any large investment into any kind of event that requires 1. International Travel 2. Large attendance to be profitable, would be foolish without absolute guarantees it WILL happen.

      I’d put this in the ‘very much doubt’ column.

    4. There’s also the Homebush Street circuit around the Olympic Village. Not that this would be of any appeal to F1, but I’m just adding that there is technically one other ‘circuit’.

      1. No more circuits in/around Olympic parks/villages please

        1. No more Olympic parks built on F1 circuits please!

    5. Doesn’t matter who wants it, if their government continues to act as authoritarian as it has been.

      1. But F1 already loves a bit of China, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. No wonder only old folks like me watch it.

        1. What I mean is that they keep locking the country down and being arguably the most heavy handed nation in the world towards citizens, as far as keeping them under their thumb. If that continues, they simply won’t allow a race to occur.

          1. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the economic reality hits hard. The ‘Western’ nations have largely been shielded of the worst effects so far as we’ve exported the pain the world’s very very poorest (150m increase in extreme poverty). Our lack of economic activity was bailed out with printed money and debt. The people who used to benefit from that activity, are now facing shorter lives because unlike us, they don’t have the capacity to just print more money. Availability bias though blinds us.

            I just can’t see how Australia will be in a position to host a Grand Prix unless the government takes ALL the risk financially which is kinda ethically difficult.

      2. Mate don’t pull that nonsense out. We’re here in Australia and you know what’s great? There not being much Covid around. Get off that nutjob Trumpist conservative American ‘Australia needs saving’ wack concept. Trust me we’re very much doing fine, and governments actually doing their jobs (unlike in so many other places) and protecting people and massively limiting hospitalisations and deaths through public health measures is not what oppression looks like, to suggest so just confirms that you’re the kind of privileged crackpot who has never experienced real oppression.

        1. Ever seen the comments where your people apologized for bringing “R” to the United States?

      3. I’m not a government apologist, but I do think we have faired pretty well in Australia despite the frustrations of lockdowns.

        We were one of only 5 world economies to have grown beyond pre-pandemic levels by Q1 2021 and we have one of the lowest rates of per capita covid deaths for developed countries in the world (top 4). As a comparison, Australia sits at 63 covid deaths per million people while the UK and USA are up over 2,000.

        And for anyone that did lose their job, the government paid them a full time wage for almost a year.

        My only concern is that our expedited return to normality has delayed the uptake of vaccine, even though that is turning around pretty quickly with additional outbreaks.

    6. Is it April 1st?

    7. Hey lets have two Australian GP, bring on a season of endless F1 every week all year forever and ever. And what better place for F1 to add to the calendar alongside Qatar and Saudi Arabia with another climate crisis denying pro-fossil fuel lobbying country. I hope I don’t come across as cynical.

      1. Climate crisis…..REEEEEEEE, fear spreading for infinity. Climate crisis, God you people are insufferable. I’m pro-fossil fuels, I’m pro all energy, including solar, wind, and nuclear, because society needs all available options. If you wanna go back to horse and buggies, by all means, go for it, but for 99.5% of the rest of the world, we need gasoline to power our cars, cars I will add that are cleaner than ever before. Greenie weenies are all about spreading FUD but unable to understand what powers a modern economy.

        1. Lol surprise surprise you’re a climate-denying zealot aswell. Jesus, what a disgrace.

        2. You are literally the new most insufferable man on Earth. Go away. Everything you stand for and the entire fabric of your being flies in the face of all common human decency. Civilisation has moved on. You’re no longer a part of it.

          1. Wanna cry about it? Yeah, a real shame I want society to function normally. A real shame I want all forms of energy to be used rather than cater to the leftist fear mongering and panic of the day. You guys have “crisised” people out, we’re over it. No, most people agree with me, it’s YOU who is the outlier, not me.

            1. some racing fan
              21st October 2021, 22:18

              Some forms of energy are harmful to the environment (coal…). Are you seriously OK?

            2. WANnA cRy aBout IT? YEah, A rEAL SHAME i WAnt sOCIetY TO fuNCtIoN NORmALlY. A ReaL ShAmE I WaNt ALl FORMS Of ENERGy to be uSeD rather THAn CATer To tHE leFTist feaR mongERINg aNd PAnic of tHE dAY. you gUyS haVe “crIsIsed” peOple oUt, WE’re oVEr iT. no, MOst PEOPLe AGree wiTh Me, It’s YoU who Is tHe OUtlier, NoT me.

              Wanna kill @Hosford90? Yeah, you will never kill someone. You won’t be able to kill me either. I have killed (destroyed other users with words) some.

        3. I’m with you Jason. Don’t worry… Realists still exist. These ridiculous leftists don’t understand the bigger picture. They don’t even realise that hydrocarbons are used in the production of practically everything on earth. Plastics, medicine, paint, literally the whole world relies on fossil fuels and they think that we can just turn them off. The lunacy.

    8. I used to enjoy street races because there was only 2-3 of them on the F1 calender & they were always a completely different challenge to permanent circuits. They were tight, twisty, bumpy, dusty & therefore offered a true challenge to the car & driver which was completely different to the permanent venues & were something to look forward to as a result.

      The problem now is that the more modern style F1 street track no longer offers any that. They are resurfaced regularly with tarmac that offers high grip & is just as smooth as the permanent venues. They aren’t much narrower than permanent circuit & many have a feel that is similar to sections of modern permanent circuits. They just no longer offer that unique challenge they used to. Even Monaco has been changed in various way & has lost a lot of what used to make it so much fun to watch.

      Baku isn’t bad but it still lacks things like the bumpy, tricky surface that were a big part if what made street racing so challenging in the past.

    9. Sydney would suck. Bathurst, on the other hand…

      1. some racing fan
        21st October 2021, 22:26

        Bathurst suffers from a number of problems. It is isolated, it doesn’t have enough hotel space, and it would tens of millions of $ (particularly the mountain sections) in safety upgrades. Sure it is one of the worlds greatest circuits but up to F1 standards it is not. I’m willing to bet a current F1 car could take the entire section between the Cutting and the Esses flat all the way through…

    10. If history is any guide the GP will end up being held in Canberra.

      (Canberra was built between Sydney and Melbourne for no other reason than to become the national capital, because neither Sydney nor Melbourne would accept the other becoming the capital.)

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