Government 'seething' over Grand Prix leak

There are fears Melbourne could lose the annual Formula One Grand Prix because of the disclosure of the cost of hosting the event.

News Limited has reported the five-year licence fee paid to the Grand Prix boss Bernie Ecclestone is nearly $170 million.

The Tourism Minister Louise Asher says it was confidential information and its publication could jeopardise negotiations to keep the race in Melbourne after 2015.

"My Government is not responsible for that particular leak," she said.

"There's no way that I as Minister, or anyone else in Government would leak a document which would disadvantage the State of Victoria.

"I think when we come to sit down and negotiate it may be more difficult.

"Part of the contract is that his fee was not to be disclosed.

"Previous Coalition governments have gone along with that clause, and previous Labor governments have gone along with that clause." The Australian Grand Prix Corporation's Andrew Westacott says he does not believe the story has sealed Melbourne's fate.

"I don't think it's a nail in the coffin, but I think it means Melburnians, the media, need to get behind this event," he said.

"If Bernie Eccleston doesn't want to have an event in Melbourne, it'll go somewhere very, very easily." Neither the Government nor the Corporation will confirm the figure because of the confidentiality clause.

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