SYDNEY is plotting to steal the grand prix off Melbourne.
From 2021, F1 cars could race across the Harbour Bridge under a $180m plan to stage the first Sydney Grand Prix.
With the Aussie Grand Prix up for grabs from 2020 – when Melbourne’s current contract expires – The Daily Telegraph reports NSW Premier Mike Baird will put together a bid team to pinch the race from Victoria.
While a proposed circuit is still a long way off, Sydney could set up a Monaco-style street circuit with the cars racing across the Harbour Bridge and through the city’s north, creating a 5km circuit, or about the same length as Albert Park.
The Telegraph speculates chicanes would need to be used on the Harbour Bridge, otherwise its uneven surface would cause the cars to lift.
To minimise CBD chaos the Friday of the Sydney Grand Prix would be declared a public holiday.
Baird, who is facing a state election later this month, said the bid team would star Rod McGeoch, the man who successfully led Sydney’s 2000 Olympics tilt.
Baird would also recruit former News Corp CEO John Hartigan, now chairman of Destination NSW, with the bid team reporting to government on the viability of the race as soon as the end of this year.
“I want the Formula One to come to Sydney, because no other city in the world could provide a more spectacular backdrop for this event,” Premier Baird is quoted by The Telegraph.
“We know this event is watched by up to 30 million people around the world, and securing the Grand Prix would put our already successful events strategy in pole position.
“But we need to get all the facts, before we move to bid stage. Rod McGeoch and John Hartigan are the right people to make this happen.”
The event would cost NSW taxpayers up to $180m.
If Sydney’s bid to steal the grand prix off Melbourne is successful it will, of course, be the second time an Australian city has stolen the grand prix, with Adelaide still bitter from losing its 10-year-old F1 race to Melbourne in 1996.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
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