2 Apr 2011

Debate continues over Melbourne keeping Australian GP

12:36 pm on 2 April 2011

The 700 tonnes of cars, tyres and high-tech wizardry are on their way to Malaysia from Melbourne but the debate about the Australian Grand Prix is set to continue.

Sebastian Vettel, the winner of last weekend's Formula One season-opener, says he loves the place but local opposition to Melbourne retaining the loss-making race beyond the current contract, which runs out in 2015, is growing.

Organisers maintain the race is worth the losses as it draws visitors to the city and acts as a major promotional tool for Melbourne around the world.

Their argument is set to be put to the test with auditors Ernst & Young commissioned by the Victoria state government which meets the losses, to compile a report on the race's impact to be completed by the end of next month.

The 2011 race attracted 298,000 paying fans to the circuit, 111,000 for the race on Sunday, meaning losses are expected be similar to the $75 of last year.