F1 extends deal with Australian Grand Prix through 2035
By JENNA FRYER
(AP) -- Formula One announced a 10-year contract extension with the Australian Grand Prix on Thursday to continue racing in Melbourne through 2035.
The new agreement will also bring feeder series Formula 2 and Formula 3 to the circuit for the first time starting next year. Organizers have also promised upgrades to the paddock and pit lane.
"The Australian Grand Prix has never been bigger, with more than 419,000 people flocking to Albert Park for this year's race," said Martin Pakula, minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events for the Victorian Government.
"We know how important this event is to our economy and that's why we've delivered the longest extension for the race since it has been held in Melbourne."
Albert Park has hosted 25 F1 races since 1996, but did not have events in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. The return of F1 in April drew the largest three-day crowd for a weekend sporting event in Australian history.
"The race has always been a favorite for the fans, drivers and the teams and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport," F1 president Stefano Domenicali said.
"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."
F1 will add Las Vegas in 2023, as well as Qatar, which made its debut on last year's schedule but is pausing this year for the World Cup. Domenicali this week traveled to South Africa to meet with representatives of the Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg about adding it to the 2023 schedule.
South Africa last hosted an F1 race in 1993. Africa is the only continent apart from Antarctica not to have a race on the current schedule.
F1 is aiming for 24 events on the 2023 schedule.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated June 15, 2022