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2015-09-14 08:43

MELBOURNE GP TO STAY: Melbourne will remain hosts of the 2015 Australian GP until 2023. Image: AP / Rob Griffith

Melbourne, Australia - Melbourne has secured the hosting rights for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix until 2023, the Victoria state government announced on Sunday (September 13).

Melbourne in 2014 signed an agreement to continue hosting the race until 2020 and Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the state government had agreed to a three-year extension to 2023.

Andrew said in a statement: "There's nothing quite like the Australian GP in Melbourne and the buzz it creates around our state."

HOSTING F1 SINCE 1996

Melbourne has hosted the Australian GP since 1996, when the race was switched from Adelaide but it has became a local political issue after years of heavy financial losses, subsidised by taxpayers.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has in the past suggested the race was one of the least viable on the sport's calendar because of the time difference with the key European television market.

Despite posting record losses amid soaring costs and declining revenue, Melbourne has retained its place as the opening race on the calendar.

Ecclestone was quoted as saying in the statement: "We are very happy to extend our relationship with Melbourne."

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