Walker ‘surprised’ about ’08 Aus GP date

Sat, 28 July 2007, 12:52

Ron Walker, promoter of the Australian grand prix in Melbourne, admitted surprise when his race was reinstated in the top position on the formula one calendar for 2008.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation, having refused to stage night races, this week divulged that Bahrain had instead secured the honour of opening next year’s championship.

But after the provisional 2008 was published on Friday, Walker told Melbourne newspaper The Age: “Bernie (Ecclestone) in the end decided that it was best to go back to where we were.

“It is a surprise but a very welcome one.”

Melbourne, whose race is staged at Albert Park just south of the Victorian city, has opened the F1 calendar every year since 1996 — except 2006 to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games.

The race next year will take place on March 16, with Malaysia’s round near Kuala Lumpur following just seven days later.

Italy and Belgium in September will also be staged back to back, as will China and Japan the following month.

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