Australia will return to the top of the F1 calendar in 2007. Despite fears that high-rating Bahrain would retain the slot after Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Games this year, organisers said in a statement that Albert Park will run its opener on March 18.
“In Paris a few days ago there was huge competition from other countries for the start of the Grand Prix (season),” said Ron Walker, boss of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
With the exception of 2006, Melbourne has hosted the first race of the season since 1996.
There is some concern, however, about the race’s clash next March with the World Swimming Championships. The F1 date will be confirmed at an upcoming FIA meeting.
“We’re working (with the swimming organisers) on some logistical issues but there’s no city in the world that can handle two major events back to back except Melbourne,” tourism minister John Pandazopoulos was quoted as telling the Age.