Melbourne eyes late April date

Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker is set to fly to London early next week in a bid to secure a late April date for his 2006 Formula 1 race, so as to avoid a clash with Melbourne's Commonwealth Games

Melbourne eyes late April date

Although the Melbourne organisers have made no secret of the fact that they want the date of the race switched from its traditional early March slot, Walker has now confirmed that he wants the race to take place on the weekend of April 28-30.

The switch is likely to lead to a major upheaval in the Formula 1 calendar, because of the amount of time it takes for teams to fly their equipment and personnel from Europe to Australia. That is why the race has been twinned with Malaysia - a factor that could lead to both events being moved back.

Speaking about the possibility of how the calendar will be affected, Walker said: "It could be that Malaysia goes first, but I don't want to speculate because it's more Bernie Ecclestone's domain."

If Malaysia is moved back to possibly go in front of Australia in the schedule, then the season could begin with Bahrain or even a European event.

Walker's chances of persuading Ecclestone to hand him his preferred date are likely to be successful - because the Australian is a close friend of the sport's commercial boss. He also recently launched a campaign to secure support for Ecclestone among F1's circuit promoters in the face of the threat posed by the GPWC manufacturers.

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