Baird tries to steal F1 GP from southern neighbours

BRIDGE TOO FAR: Former Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber on a promotional run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2005.
BRIDGE TOO FAR: Former Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber on a promotional run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2005. PAUL Milleraap

INTERSTATE rivalry reared its head as Premier Mike Baird announced a plan for Sydney to poach the Formula One Grand Prix from Melbourne.

The Liberals have brought together a team of experts including the man who led Sydney's successful 2000 Olympics bid, Rod McGeoch, to see how they could lure the event away from Victoria.

They even want to see the high-powered racing cars shooting across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"We also want Sydney and NSW to be the destination of the world and certainly we don't think Melbourne's that," Mr Baird said.

"We've got a lot of upsides here in Sydney and we're after their events."

No bones about it - Mr Baird wants what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has, and he does not mind offending him or his state.

The Coalition has set aside $180 million to pilfer the event.

Even if the bid is successful, it will be some time coming.

Melbourne has the contract until at least 2020 with a five-year extension option, and issues around Sydney's legendary traffic gridlock have already been raised.

"There's no decision here at all in relation to routes. We just want the best possible bid and we put the best team together to put that together," Mr Baird said.

"We've got the man who brought the Sydney Olympics to Sydney.

"Now everyone said at that time 'couldn't be done - it was too hard, too ambitious'.

"Well, I say it's about time that NSW did not accept second best. It's about time we went after the best events."

Greens MP John Kaye called the plan an "ill-advised thought bubble".

"Entering into a bidding war with Victoria over who should host the Australian Grand Prix will inevitably end up as a destructive race to the bottom," he said.

"Sydney is in no position to cope with the disruption, air pollution, noise and additional pressure on the road network.

"The winner in this stoush will be the cashed-up Grand Prix, who will play the states off against each other to extract the best deal for themselves."

The Victorian Premier has ridiculed the idea, telling ABC reporters NSW had not filled a sports stadium since the 2000 Olympics.

Sydney's Warwick Farm played host to the Australian Grand Prix four times between 1963 and 1971.

Topics:  f1 motor racing nsw election 2015

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