Australian GP Changes Motto Due to Melbourne Bushfires

The organizers of the 2009 ING Australian Grand Prix have decided to change the motto of the Formula 1 season opener due to the catastrophic bush fires near Melbourne the past month. The promoters of the event scheduled in late March will no longer use the verb “fire up” in the motto because of the implications it might have on the Australian public.

The bush fires in eastern Victoria started more than a month ago – in mid-January – and so far have caused the death of 181 people (plus more than 500 injured) and the destruction of 1834 houses. As reported by The Australian newspaper, the race organizers have proceeded in replacing or removing the word “fire up” from all promotional materials ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

British band The Who are still expected to make the opening ceremony, but will most likely not be “coming to fire up Melbourne.” Although the phrase is still unchanged in the promoting materials, it is believed that this motto will also undergo some modifications during the course of this week, according to the aforementioned source.

Also, the official site of the 2009 ING Australian Grand Prix is already calling out for fans to “make sure you're there in 2009 as Melbourne Gears Up!”

The city of Melbourne has been experiencing chaos ever since the bush fires started, as electricity supplies were cut to more than 200,000 Melbourne residents in mid-January. As a result of the power cut, more than 1,000 traffic lights failed, making transportation an ongoing risk through the streets of the Australian capital.
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