Jean Todt has thrown his backing behind the Australian Grand Prix and said the event shouldn't disappear from the F1 calendar.

Rising costs have put the event at risk, with the local government questioning the viability of the event due to the amount of money that local taxpayers are forced to shell out to cover the costs of hosting the Albert Park race on an annual basis.

The ongoing argument with commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has led to Ecclestone stating that the sport 'doesn't need' Australia with a number of other nations waiting in the wings to host a race.

However, on a visit to Australia as part of a road safety campaign, FIA president Todt appeared to be at odds with Ecclestone's view as he said the nation had an important part to play in F1.

"F1 is not essential," he told the Associated Press. "It is a sport and it is important, and if F1 does exist I think it is important to have one race in Australia, because Australia is among the biggest nations in the world.

"Australia has been doing a great job together with people from CAMS. They have put Australia among the best grands prix in the season.

"Melbourne is a sensational venue with nice people, and when I arrived yesterday, I was thinking how good Melbourne is for F1."

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