Formula One: 2013 Calendar and circuit news from around the globe
By Berthold Bouman
Formula One is a global sport, but with just six of the 20 races on European soil, the 2013 calendar is certainly bad news for the European Formula One fans. The fact FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone goes wherever the money goes, is not really something new, but Formula One should never forget its roots, and those roots are certainly not just there where the money is.
Primarily for commercial reasons Formula One was very eager to stage two Grands Prix on American soil, but the latest news is that the Grand Prix of America, round eight on the 2013 calendar to be held in New Jersey on June 16, could already be off the calendar, as Ecclestone recently stated the organisers of the race have “not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract which is now gone anyway,” according to Formula One Grand Prix broker Ecclestone.
“They don’t have a contract,” Ecclestone told the UK Guardian. “We are pretty close to the final deadline. We have got a World Council meeting coming up. I think if someone got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit.”
Luckily for the fans in the United States, the race in Austin is still on for ten seasons to come, as the Circuit of the Americas have sealed a ten-year contract with Ecclestone, and the FIA on Tuesday confirmed the circuit has officially acquired the Grade 1 status, needed to host a Formula One race.
But France, who were hoping to stage a Formula One race again, cannot fill the gap if New Jersey fails to meet the deadline, as the French Autosport Federation (FFSA) confirmed French Minister of Sports Valerie Fourneyron said the state will not grant any financial help to the French Grand Prix, to be held at Magny Cours or Le Castellet.
A big setback for the organisers, but the FFSA hasn’t given up yet and President Nicolas Deschaux said, “I will put a question to the two bidders in the coming days to contemplate with them the conditions in which they could carry on with their candidacies.” Which in plain English means they have to find the money somewhere else or there isn’t going to be a French Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne, want to renew their contract, but with a reduced race fee. The current contract expires in 2015 and the Australians would love negotiate a new deal, but according to Louise Asher, Australia’s Minister of Tourism, the current agreement is too expensive for the tax payers.
“I’d love to have the race beyond the 2015 contract, but the contract that we discuss has to present value for taxpayers and I’m not comfortable with this level of subsidy,” she said. “The Brumby Labor government signed off on a contract that is too expensive for the taxpayer in my opinion. This is a very, very expensive race and I personally am not happy with this level of subsidy.”
In Asia, Thailand is trying to open the door for Formula One, as they aim for a spot on the 2014 calendar with a race on the streets of Bangkok. It is understood they have struck a very basic deal, which was confirmed by Kanokphand Chulakasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand. Chulakasem said to the Bangkok Post, “It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco, and it will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix.”
However, there is no official contract and all parties still have to agree about the sanctioning fee. Ecclestone nevertheless remained optimistic, “It’s difficult to know. The trouble is they’ve started something that’s so popular worldwide that I’m sure other people are going to want to do this.”
Below the provisional 2013 calendar, still to be approved by the FIA World Motorsport Council, during a meeting tomorrow.
2013 Formula One Calendar (Provisional)
March 17 Australia (Melbourne) March 24 Malaysia (Sepang) April 14 China (Shanghai) April 21 Bahrain (Sakhir) May 12 Spain (Barcelona) May 26 Monaco (Monte Carlo) June 9 Canada (Montreal) June 16 America (New Jersey) * June 30 Britain (Silverstone) July 21 Germany (Nurburgring) * July 28 Hungary (Hungaroring) September 1 Belgium (Spa) September 8 Italy (Monza) September 22 Singapore (Marina Bay) * October 6 Japan (Suzuka) October 13 Korea (Yeongam) * October 27 India (Buddh International Circuit) November 3 Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) November 17 United States (Austin) November 24 Brazil (Interlagos) *To be confirmed