Mar.11 (GMM) Former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart doubts that Australia will retain its grand prix beyond 2009.
Prompted by Bernie Ecclestone's insistence that Melbourne floodlight the Albert Park circuit for a night race, Australian Stoddart said Albert Park organisers' proposed compromise is unlikely to work.The AGPC has offered to meet Ecclestone half-way with a twilight race at 5pm next year.But Stoddart, in Melbourne for this weekend's race, told the local Herald Sun newspaper: "The only thing that's going to appease Bernie is a total night race."I think it's a night race, or (that's) it. This (proposal) is a halfway house. I can't see it improving the ratings, if that's what it's about."Stoddart suggests that Ecclestone is under pressure to scrap races because of the increased interest of potential grand prix hosts around the world."There are plenty of countries happy to spend $50m on a sanctioning fee. It's hard to fight those economics," he said.