Webber urges Australia to love F1 GP - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Webber urges Australia to love F1 GP

By Guy Hand 26/11/2007 07:50:24 PM Comments (0)

Mark Webber has urged his countrymen to love the Australian Formula One Grand Prix or risk losing it as the whispering campaign continues about its future beyond 2010.

With the Victorian government apparently wavering over its support of the race in the wake of rising licensing fees and a $34.6 million loss this year, permanent tracks have been suggested including Sandown, Phillip Island and Flemington racecourse.

There has also been the suggestion the event could move interstate.

But Webber said if the race wasn't held at Albert Park beyond when the current deal to host the GP expires in 2010, it would more likely be lost to Australia.

"This model works here (in Melbourne). I can't think of any other place," Webber said in Melbourne.

"You're going to have to put a huge amount of cash into making another venue work and we've got one here on the doorstep of a city which is humming and buzzing Grand Prix weekend.

"We've just got to sort out the numbers side of things."

Webber, the only Australian in the Grand Prix field, was critical of the lack of understanding of his sport and said people needed to realise just how good an event it was.

"It's an absolutely brilliant event and it's one of few international events we have here in Australia.

"If you want to watch the best guys in the world, you need to embrace it and continue to support the event.

"People need to understand Formula One a bit more."

The Victorian government has ramped up publicity for next year's event from March 13 to 16, announcing its full support program, a revamped celebrity challenge and free admission for children under 12.

As well as the returning V8 Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup racing and a sports-themed celebrity challenge will back up the F1s.

Ex-Collingwood AFL star Nathan Buckley has been confirmed as the first driver in the celebrity challenge.

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