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Australian GP boss: Best F1 races have 'huge untapped potential'

Australian Grand Prix 2017

The push Liberty Media is giving Formula 1 race promoters will help its best events unleash "huge untapped potential", according to Australian Grand Prix boss Andrew Westacott.

F1 bosses recently hosted a meeting of grand prix promoters in London, which Westacott attended before having a day and a half of private talks with Liberty.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO says there is a clear shift in focus from F1 CEO Chase Carey and his team.

Westacott told Autosport that F1 "wants to move from being a motorsport company to being a media and entertainment brand, and we recognise that we're in that mix".

He added: "I'm extremely happy, and I think their vision is underpinned by three things - great racing, an amazing spectacle, and engaged fans.

"For us running the show here, none of that comes as a surprise to what we do and what we see that fans want.

"I'm extremely enthused about what they're doing and how excited they are.

"There is huge untapped potential in the sport of Formula 1.

"There's a feeling of a different approach and a different philosophy, and it aligns perfectly to what we've been doing in Melbourne for many years and what Melbourne does with all of its events.

"We've got to raise the bar every year. And I wanted to talk about areas where I want to raise the bar even more.

"What's vital, and is helping us, the fact that there's positive direction and positive sentiment now in Formula 1 is building on our own initiatives and as a result of many different things we're in a stronger sales position several weeks out from the event than we have been for a decade."

F1 recently confirmed a shake-up of the weekend schedule this year, with many European races now starting at 3.10pm.

The races will now start 10 minutes past the hour to allow broadcasters to better incorporate the pre-race build-up if their programming starts on the hour.

Speaking before this change was announced, Westacott said he supported the move because it would "provide greater exposure for the city and the event, and the character of each event".

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