Michael Danby, an MP whose Melbourne Ports electorate includes the Albert Park circuit, has called on the Australian parliament not to renew its contract to host a Formula 1 race when the current deal comes to an end.

Rows about the increased costs involved in hosting the F1 event have called the long-term future of the Albert Park race into doubt, with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle quoted last month as saying that the event had 'run its course' [See separate story HERE].

Now Danby has told parliament that a straw poll of residents has shown them to against the race continuing at a ration of ten to one, showing that 'everything points to Melbourne saying thanks for the memories' and leaving the F1 arena.

"The grand prix may have been a good deal in 1996, when it cost the government only $1.7 million; but, with falling crowd numbers and taxpayers footing a $50 million-a-year bill, the government should cut its losses and walk away," he was quoted as telling parliament by the Reuters news agency.

"Rising costs, dwindling crowds, fed-up local residents, an ambivalent Melbourne mayor... to me, everything points to Melbourne saying 'thanks for the memories' but gracefully declining to renew the grand prix contract."

Although popular with teams, Australia is seen as being one of the weakest events in terms of the key European TV audience because of the time difference.

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