The CEOs of the Melbourne Convention Bureau and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation have announced a joint venture to inject business events, particularly incentives, into next year’s Formula One Grand Prix.

At a recent trade event held beneath the Melbourne Star observation wheel, Karen Bolinger of MCB said: “From a business events perspective, and more importantly the incentive market it [the F1 GP] is a big asset to us. We market incentives internationally and we often talk about all the major events that Melbourne actually has and the Grand Prix is certainly one of the marquee events.

“From an incentive perspective, particularly out of the Asian region, it is very high-profile and they are very keen to come so it is actually a wonderful combination for us. The whole event itself adds a lot of kudos to those people to be able to go back with bragging rights. They not only came to Australia but they experienced an event that is on a global calendar not just an Australian calendar.”

Andrew Westacott said Formula One was not just motorsport, “it is where business, innovation, technology, sponsorship, and Hollywood all come together on a racing track.”

He said there was much more flexibility compared to 20 years ago in what the Grand Prix could offer organisations – “once it was just four-day general admission, four-day grandstand, now we’re building a city on the circuit for wonderful visitation…we can host a group for breakfast Thursday morning, they get to meet Sir Jackie Stewart for lunch on Friday, stay for dinner somewhere on circuit or spend some time with a ‘money can’t buy experience’ with Mark Webber or David Coulthard.”

As an example, Ms Bolinger said Amway Corporation was sending its top achievers from Taiwan to Australia in 2016 and had specifically chosen the Grand Prix dates in February to reward only their highest level achievers. She said more than 2000 were being sent to Australia.

“But only the top 200 will receive an incredibly bespoke experience. We are working with the Grand Prix Corporation to deliver something no one else will be able to deliver to them,” she said. The event had also attracted a medical association conference from Malaysia and many of them would stay on for the Grand Prix after their meeting finished on the Friday. m