Australian GP boss explains timing of departure
By Mat Coch
Thursday 16th March, 2023 - 12:30pm
Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Andrew Westacott has explained his motivation for stepping down following this year’s F1 event in Albert Park.
Westacott announced he will leave the CEO role following this year’s race after more than 15 years with the AGPC.
“Nothing’s forever,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve been in the corporation for 16-and-a-half [years], or thereabouts.
“I’m not going to be there for 31 years [F1 will remain in Melbourne for another 15 years], and I think life is full of challenges.
“Someone said early on in the piece, we’re all just custodians of this event; it’s not owned by individuals, it’s owned by the people of Victoria and, ultimately, the people of Australia.
“But the Victorian Government obviously funds it and so therefore we’re going to make sure that we’re custodians, and we’re going to pass it on to the next management team and the next group of individuals who’ll cut their careers at the Grand Prix Corporation.
“When you look at what’s the right time, now seemed pretty much the right time, and I can hand it on in good shape.”
Formula 1 will remain in Melbourne well into the next decade, extending its stay to more than four decades.
The Australian Grand Prix is one of the longest serving on the current calendar, with Albert Park becoming one of its most visited venues.
With the long-term future of the event secure, and little left to achieve, it makes sense for Westacott.
However, he is not expected to walk off into the sunset, and instead, use his event-delivery expertise in a new role.
“I’ve always been a believer that skills are transferable and operational things in organising stuff, technically speaking, sort of comes in my DNA,” he explained.
“From 2005, Melbourne Commonwealth games that were in 2006, all the way through, there’s sort of been 18 years working in sporting events; infrastructure, overlay, delivering in entertainment for fans.
“That tends to be what I’m now, I think, reasonably good at and that will form the focus of what I want to do in the future.”
Though facing his last event in charge, Westacott remains focused on delivering this year’s race and doesn’t expect the realisation to dawn on him until the weeks after.
“We’ve got a job to do,” he said.
“It’s really interesting when you get in and [are] focussed on that job, you’re single-minded, focussed, and you work with our team at the grand prix, with the F1 team, with the teams themselves, and focus on the task at hand, you sort of put the fact it’s your last event… well, you don’t even put it in the back of your mind, it just doesn’t feature in the day-to-day considerations.
“It won’t be so much at event time, it’ll be probably a month or so after when things are wrapping up that it will dawn on me.
“That will be a different sort of time,” he added, “but for the time being, you get in event mode, and when you get in event mode, it’s all eyes on the prize.”
This year’s Australian Grand Prix, Round 3 of the 2023 season, runs from March 30-April 2.
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