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2014 F1 calendar, what we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know - September 9, 2013 by admin
Bernie Ecclestone

Mr Bernie Ecclestone Photo Courtesy of Nick J Webb

So a provisional calendar was released for the 2014 season on 5th September. What we can read from this though is limited and it really is provisional and not necessarily an indication of contracts for races, or lack of them, or a confirmation that certain new races will be ready on time.

There are three new races on the 21 race calendar but this could still become 4 new races on a 22 race calendar. Of the new races on the calendar though 2 are subject to confirmation as is the Korean Race.

Before we get on to the new races let’s talk about the existing races, the Korean race could very easily drop off the calendar next year and if not then soon, the race – at Yeongam in the countries rural and relatively remote south west corner – is reported to be loss making and government funding may be withdrawn.The race taking place is going to be down it seems to a new contract with a lower fee being agreed, the fact that the Korean Grand Prix is even provisionally on the calendar suggests both sides are willing to negotiate at least.

Other interesting things to notice include the Spanish Grand Prix talking place at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona again – and not at the Valencia Street Circuit that it at one point seemed would alternate the Spanish Grand Prix with Barcelona – and the German Grand Prix returns to Hockenheim again, this perhaps is less surprising and seeing if the race will still go to the Nurburgring the year after is more of an issue. Since the calendar was released we have also heard that the Bahrain race will become another night race.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is on the calendar and isn’t subject to confirmation, some have suggested that the race’s days are numbered with the Russian race joining the calendar next year and FOM wanting to cut the number of European races. The Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi circuit though is still subject to confirmation and a lot of reports have said the circuit won’t be ready in time, the Winter Olympics take place on the same site at the beginning of the year (in February), giving organisers until October 19th to prepare but with the circuit surface already mainly down there is no reason to believe this couldn’t happen.

the Sochi circuit as it will appear in 2014

How the finished track will appear: Image from Formula Sochi


It was perhaps even more of a surprise for most people that the Mexican race is provisionally on the calendar and although the support for such a race is obviously there now with two mexicans – Perez at Mclaren and Guittirez at Sauber – in F1 a Mexican race was perhaps inevitable but few expected it to happen quite so quickly. A race in Mexico City will take place on the 9th of Novemeber it seems though and although there is no reason to doubt this the details are still thin on the ground, maybe 2015 is more likely.

The Austrian Grand Prix seems fairly straight forward compared to the Russian and Mexican races, the circuit is there, both the circuit owners and Bernie want a race in Austria it seems, there is a history of and following for F1 in Austria and with the Red Bull Ring owned by Red Bull co-founder Materschitz finances aren’t really an issue.

What then of the potential 22nd race, some would be incredulous at the idea of having a 22 race season but we’ve lost count of how many times Bernie has put a cap on the number of races in the season and then exceeded it. Still though many are now very doubtful this race, the New Jersey race at Port Imperial, will happen for other reasons. This was going to be a street circuit, meaning there is no circuit lying unused, but some construction work on the pit and paddock buildings began but there is still no news on the funding for this race. However as the source of the funding was never public in the first place we would be unlikely to know anything until after the cheque is in Bernie’s pocket: he says the race could still happen and we wouldn’t expect him to let his long term dream, of having a race with a bad drop of the New York city skyline, go too easily.

The 2014 F1 Calendar(provisional:

16th March – Australian Grand Prix (Albert Park, Melbourne)
23rd March – Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang, Kuala Lumpur)
6th April – Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai)
13th April – Korean Grand Prix* (Korea International Circuit, Yeongam)
27th April – Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir)
11th May – Spanish Grand Prix (Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona)
25th May – Monaco Grand Prix (Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo)
8th June – Canadian Grand Prix (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal)
22nd June – Austrian Grand Prix (Red Bull Ring, Spielberg)
6th July – British Grand Prix (Silverstone, Northamptonshire)
20th July – German Grand Prix (Hockenheimring, Hockenheim)
27th July – Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring, Budapest)
24th August – Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Franchorchamps, Spa)
7th September – Italian Grand Prix (Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza)
21st September – Singapore Grand Prix(Marina Bay, Singapore)
5th October – Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka International Circuit, Suzuka)
19th October – Russian Grand Prix* (Olympic Park, Sochi)
26th October – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina, Yas Island)
9th November – Mexican Grand Prix* (Mexico City)
16th November – United States Grand Prix (Circuit of the Americas, Austin)
30th November – Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos, Sao Paulo)

Austrian Grand Prix to return to F1 calendar - July 23, 2013 by admin

”]the 2002 Austrian Grand PrixMany younger F1 fans may not realise the importance of Austria to Formula One but with a long history of the Austrian Grand Prix (first staged as a championship race in 1964) and for many years at the iconic Österreichring) and with Austrian former World Champions Jochen Rindt and Niki Lauda as well as other Austrian drivers like Jo Siffert and Gerhard Berger amongst the sports greats: many believe that Austria deserves to have a place on the calendar almost as much as other noticeable absentee France.



Well it seems that we may not have to wait much longer with the running of the Austrian Grand Prix set for the 6th of July 2014. The Österreichring circuit may be gone but it has evolved, via the A1 Ring, into the modern Red-Bull Ring, owned by Dietrich Mateschitz’s soft drink company who of course also own the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams.


Often we hear rumours of Formula One moving to a circuit before negotiations have even begun in earnest, often the rumours are put out by the circuit owners to garner support. With the Red Bull Ring though there were few if any mentions that this was on the cards but the team behind the negotiations have today announced that the agreement is all but completed it seems.


The last time the Austrian Grand Prix was run was in 2003 at the A1 Ring, the circuit though needed modernisation and a track extension was planned. However it wasn’t until Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz decided his company should buy the A1 Ring circuit and took the decision to invest in it heavily that re-development really began in earnest with the circuit reopening in 2011.


The FIA still need to confirm the agreement at the next World Motorsport Council meeting but it seems from Red Bull’s announcement this morning that the vital agreement between the circuit and Bernie Ecclestone has been completed. Any problems now would probably only be due to concerns about the safety of the circuit but it is already used for top level FIA sanctioned motorsport and was redeveloped with Formula One Racing in mind.


The Austrian Grand Prix had been mentioned as a replacement this year for the postponed New Jersey Grand Prix but this idea never came to fruition. Whether the agreement now is to fill the gap the New Jersey Grand Prix will leave if it is cancelled, is unclear. The addition of a new race to the calender though will raise questions about the New Jersey race, which many believe is now unlikely to go ahead: especially as it would seem otherwise another race would need to be removed in order to fit in the Austrian race as there are already likely to be 20 races next year prior to the Austrian race being added.


 

France, Turkey and now Austria could fill in 2013 calender gap - December 9, 2012 by admin

,”]th 2002 Austrian Grand Prix An Austrian Grand Prix is the latest potential one off race that could be slotted into the 2013 calendar to make up for the cancelled New Jersey Grand Prix of America which should now take place for the first time in 2014.
Initially the French Grand Prix seemed the most likely to fill the gap, which could if successful lead to a permanent place on the calender either at Paul Ricard or Magny Cours. A clash with the Le Mans  24 hours though on the weekend that the Grand Prix America would have taken place made it look like the French Grand Prix would be unviable. Changes to the calender though have now been made possible for a European race to take place in the three week gap before the German Grand Prix which has been moved to the 7th of July.

All that has been confirmed is that this gap will have a European race slotted in, which could include a Turkish Grand Prix, this is a better solution wherever the race is held as if the race had taken place on the weekend after the Canadian Grand Prix, where the New Jersey race was set to take place, then it would have been tough for teams to get from Montreal to Europe in the two days between finishing the Canadian Grand Prix and being set up again to race in Europe.

The gap being made shows Bernie Ecclestone’s determination to make 2013 another 20 race season and he initially backed a French

istanbul pit straight

Istanbul Park Pit Straight Photo Courtesy of Ph-Stop

Grand Prix, which is still a possibility. The Turkish Government though have said it is up to them whether a race happens at Istanbul Park as the funding is not forthcoming but the Turkish Government have since said they wouldn’t fund a race, meaning a 2013 Turkish Grand Prix could still happen if funding is found elsewhere but is less likely. Istanbul Park is a popular circuit with teams and with fans, although seemingly not local fans who failed to fill the stands in the past.

So now the only other circuit that looked like it might have the  setup in place to host a race in 2013, the Red Bull Ring, formerly the A1 Ring, has thrown its hat into the err…. ring. The circuit at Spielberg hasn’t hosted F1 since 2003 but Dietrich Materschitz has invested heavily in the circuit to bring it up to modern standards and bringing back an Austrian Grand Prix to the circuit, potentially alternating with another circuit, has been on the cards for a year or two now, the circuit reopened in early 2011, with little progress. Funding for the race could potentially come from Red Bull as well though and with F2 at the circuit in 2012 it has been put through its paces with top quality motorsport.

The four circuits in question could all provide good races and European F1 fans will be happy to see an extra race on the continent that has been losing races over the last few years with 2013 otherwise set to have the least World Championship F1 races, 7,  since 1969 when there were 7 European races but of a total of 11 Grand Prix .

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