MOTORSPORT: Australian Grand Prix organisers are hopeful of avoiding a clash with the start of the AFL season in future years.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott said that while he was delighted with ticket sales for this year's event at Albert Park, the scheduling was far from ideal.
As the F1 rolled into Melbourne, the AFL season kicked off last night with Carlton taking on Richmond at the MCG, with both sports competing for media coverage.
"In an ideal world we'll be the lead-up to the AFL season," Westacott said.
"So if I had my choice for next year I'd be saying that we go the week before the AFL starts, then we've got a happy median for everyone."
Westacott's comments came after three-time F1 drivers champion Lewis Hamilton proposed Melbourne alternating hosting duties with Sydney.
It's unlikely Melbourne would ever stand for the idea.
"I wouldn't be opposed if they alternated year on year, that might be a cool thing," Hamilton said.
"The Opera House, with that view in the shot, would be incredible."
That said, the Mercedes driver said the Melbourne GP was one of the best in the world.
At Albert Park, where a makeshift circuit has been built for the first leg of the global F1 circus, more than 47,900 will turn out for the first of four days of motorsport action beamed around the world.
"It is definitely up there with the top five best races and I think it is a combination of things: the city, the people, the atmosphere, the grandstands are always full, people are out there on the banks with a beer and it is a beautiful park," Hamilton said.
"As a driver it is just a well-attended grand prix and the atmosphere created by the fans is one of the best of the year."
Aussie Red Bull driver - and West Coast Eagles AFL fan - Daniel Ricciardo said he would urge his F1 friends and rivals to take in an AFL match while in Melbourne.
"I've encouraged some of the F1 people to go to the footy," he said. "I'm like 'if you get a chance see the game because it's awesome', especially at the 'G would be pretty epic."
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