By Jonathan NobleThursday, November 8th 2007, 16:19 GMT
Australian circuit Phillip Island has expressed its interest in hosting the country's Formula One Grand Prix in the future if the event is moved on from Albert Park.
The future of the Melbourne event has been subject to great speculation this week following reports that Australian GP chairman Ron Walker has discussed the prospect of switching the race from its current home to a new base at Flemington Racecourse.
Although government officials have played down talk that they are evaluating whether to move the Australian event, the future of the race is set to be discussed next year as moves are made to cut its financial losses.
And now Andrew Fox, managing director of the Linfox Property Group that owns the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, has said he would be willing to upgrade his track to F1 standard in a bid to hold the race.
"We'd have a lot of work that would be required to make it an F1 standard, but I can guarantee we'd do it," Fox told the Herald Sun newspaper. "It is one of the best racetracks in Australia."
Phillip Island already holds MotoGP and World Superbike events, and Fox has said that he would need a 10-year F1 contract to justify the costs of an upgrade.
The Fox family is planning to build a 166-room, five-star hotel at the circuit and up to 500 residential villas alongside a Greg Norman-designed golf course.
If approval was given next year, the track could be ready for an F1 race in 2011, the year after the current contract with Albert Park expires.
Fox added that all it would take for talks to start was for Walker to contact him.
"The phone is on and the door is always open," he said.