How much does it cost for a city to host the Formula One circus? Well, considering how clandestine are the dealings of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, we may never fully know. But, thanks to some leaked information to Australia's Herald Sun, we do now have a pretty good indication of what that city must pay for the privilege of being an F1 venue – and it ain't cheap folks.
In an exclusive report from the Aussie paper, we're told that Formula One's license fee for the Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, Victoria, has increased in price each year of a five-year contract; starting at $31 million (US dollars) in 2011 and moving up to $37 million in 2015. In fact, in 2012, the $32.5 million license fee to F1 was the major line item in a total of some $56.7 million paid by, according to the Herald Sun, the taxpayers of Victoria.
The fee paid to F1 has been a well-protected secret up until now, and officials from both the racing organization and the Australian government are refusing to confirm or deny the figures reported via the leaked documents. Government officials have been vocal in their defense of the soundness of the business decisions behind bringing and keeping the race in Melbourne, however. And, in fact, former Premier Jeff Kennett went so far as to say that the deal is a bit of a steal, relative to what other locales pay to Formula One.
Of Ecclestone Kennett said, "Victorians have been getting it at such a good deal, it might cause him some embarrassment."
Scroll down for a statement on the leaked fee documents, and more, from Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott, in the video below.