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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countries rural and relatively remote south west corner – is reported to be loss making and government funding may be withdrawn.The race taking place is going to be down it seems to a new contract with a lower fee being agreed, the fact that the Korean Grand Prix is even provisionally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)

Sochi Circuit on track for 2014 Russian Grand Prix - April 18, 2013 by admin

the Sochi circuit as it will appear in 2014

How the finished track will appear: Image from Formula Sochi



Many thought the plans to build the Sochi Circuit and the Winter Olympics venue on the same site, and to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and inaugural Russian Grand Prix in the Black Sea port in the same year, were ambitious. The race promoter, Formula Sochi’s’, Operations Director Oleg Zabara has given an update however confirming that things are on schedule with work taking place 24 hours a day on the track.


At one point it had been planned that the track surface would only be placed after the Winter Olympics in February, with the Russian Grand Prix planned for Autumn 2014 at the Sochi Olympic Park, with much of the same infrastructure set to be used. Next week though David Coulthard and Sebastian Vettel will sample a section of the track for Infiniti; in an event similar to that held on the streets of Port Imperial that will hold the Grand Prix of America next year.


According to Zabara “Now the construction project goes with two main directions – track surface is first, while buildings are second,…..The first layer of asphalt has been laid on 60 per cent of the 5.8 km lap. We simply can’t do more just now because of Olympic stadiums and pedestrian bridges.”


The really hard work then will presumably begin after the Winter Olympics at Sochi Olympic Park in February when the contractors will have around 7 months to complete the circuit ready for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, which is likely to take place in September or October, potentially as the last race in Europe before the fly away races. Which race will lose its place on the calender in 2014 remains to be seen but the Hungarian Grand Prix would appear to be the front runner.

Sochi Olympic Park circuit on track - July 19, 2012 by admin
Images of the Sochi circuit so far haven't been much to get excited aboutPhoto by Omega2014

Images of the Sochi circuit so far haven't been much to get excited about, Photo by Omega2014

The 2014 Russian Grand Prix should go ahead and it seems that rumours of delays to 2015 are just that rumours. The ambition of the project, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held at Sochi, a Black Sea resort, and then the Olypmpic Park will be transformed into a Formula One circuit in months, may be what led to these rumours along with few updates and images showing little progress

 

New Sochi chief Alexander Bogdanov though intends to put a stop to future rumours with more updates and has told media that “right now is a very active phase of construction”: hopefully this means we will soon be seeing images other than those that are computer generated then, though new images of early construction work were released in May.

 

Although the asphalt for the circuit won’t be put down on the track until after the Winter Olympics early in 2014 almost all the buildings used for the Russian Grand Prix including the Pit Building, Medical Centre and Paddock buildings will be used for the Winter Olympics as well so they will be in place.

 

With the Circuit of the Americas in Texas only now finishing the first layer of asphalt now for their race in November if laying the track really will be the only major job post Olympics at Sochi this shouldn’t be an issue and the circuit has certainly had enough lead time: being confirmed in 2010 before the New Jersey Race scheduled for 2013 and the United States Grand Prix at Austin scheduled for this year.

Prost on French and Russian Grand Prix - February 27, 2012 by admin

 

New Renault ambassador Alain Prost , photo courtesy of MEDEF

New Renault ambassador Alain Prost , photo courtesy of MEDEF

Four time world champion Alain Prost has become an ambassador for Renault, he spent the 81, 82 and 83 seasons with the Renault team and won a total of 9 races. The press conferences and interviews he has already given and what he has to say about the French and Russian Grand Prix though are of more interest to us than anything he has to say about Renault themselves, now only really an engine supplier to F1.

 

On the French Grand Prix unsurprisingly Alain is enthusiastic, like most of us though he would rather that the solution was a seperate French and Belgian Grand Prix every year rather than the shared race between the two, where they will host a race in alternate years. Prost had been involved in the project to bring the French Grand Prix to the vicinity of Paris though, despite backing from the French governement and prime minister it failed and the race is of course going topre existing circuit  Paul Ricard near Marseilles instead.

Nicholas Prost in the 2010 Renault at Paul Ricard

Nicholas Prost in the 2010 Renault at Paul Ricard, photo by Nicholas Garcia

 

As for the Russian Grand Prix at the new, yet to be built, Sochi circuit Alain Prost was in Russia last week for the first time and claims that the Sochi race will be a major milestone. With Formula One going to new venues across the world every year pretty much it would be easy for the Russian Grand Prix to be considered in similar terms to India or Korea. Back in 1986 though when communist Hungary first hosted a Grand Prix, replacing Apartheid South Africa, it was a major milestone and Prost thinks that the symbol of commercialism and consumerism that is Formula One, going to Russia for the first time is huge saying ‘ for me, it’s not just another Formula One race’.

 

Again though Prost’s opinions match that of many fans when it comes to using Tilke as the designer for the Sochi circuit, “If we had more than one designer, that would be better, because you can always find new ideas and do something different” he said.

Russian Grand Prix (2014) preview - July 18, 2011 by admin
Jenson Button on the Street's of Moscow

Button on the Streets of Moscow Photo by Kirill Kondratyev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Russian Grand Prix will join the calendar in 2014 with the Black Sea port of Sochi its home. The fact that it is fairly close to Istanbul and we may have seen the last of the Istanbul Park circuit sadly, means that the circuit may get plenty of visitors from Eastern Europe and Turkey making the trip. Based on this last weekend though there is already plenty of interest in Formula One in Russia and the teams have an interest in the country as well, or at least their sponsors do.

In Moscow a 2010 Ferrari and 2008 McLaren could both be found doing demonstration runs this weekends with 300,000 people turning out in Red Square to see Fisichella at the wheel of the Ferrari. Meanwhile in Sochi where the Grand Prix will take place the Virgin team (sponsored by Marussia a Russian Sportscar marque)  had both drivers Glock and d’Ambrosio out and whipping up the crowd, both with a demonstration run and DJ sets according to the team.

Though the contract for the Russian Grand Prix is signed by no less than Vladimir Putin the circuit is yet to be constructed though a start has been made to the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit: a Tilke designed circuit of 5.5. km in length. The track needs to be finished early though to ensure that the construction is finished before the 2014 Winter Olympics: the Olympic Park is within the circuit itself. As you might imagine the Winter Olympics aren’t going to be at the same time of year as the Formula One race, the Olympics being in the winter at the beginning of the year and the race in the summer: so there should be no chance of a snow affected race or a need for Pirelli to bring out studded Formula One tyres. A new circuit in a new country is always exciting and so we will present all the latest news on the Sochi Formula One Circuit as we get it.

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