The outgoing boss of the Australian grand prix, Tim Bamford, has played down suggestions that his departure could be the death knell for the embattled formula one race.
The annual event, staged in Melbourne since 1996 at Albert Park, came in for intense criticism recently as local commentators and politicians argued that it is now a government expense that cannot be justified.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone did not help matters when he reportedly told organisers that the event in 2008 must be floodlit and run at night — at its own expense.
The race was then poorly attended last month, but Bamford denied that he had been eased aside in a move that could leave him looking like a scapegoat.
He insisted to the Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun: “I don’t agree with that proposition.
“It’s been a discussion between myself and the chairman (Ron Walker) over the past couple of months.”