Mystery European race added to 2013 F1 calendar
6 December, 2012
Dec.6 (Reuters) Formula One could have 20 races again next season after the governing FIA pencilled in a mystery European round in July to fill a space left by the postponed Grand Prix of America in New Jersey.
The International Automobile Federation said on Wednesday that the German Grand Prix would switch from July 14 to July 7 with July 21 now “reserved for another F1 European event” subject to the approval of national bodies.
While no further details were given, speculation focused mainly on the possible return of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.
Germany’s revised date would see its race follow on immediately from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 30, according to the previous provisional calendar, while the new event would be back-to-back with Hungary on July 28.
Istanbul, where the FIA is currently holding its annual assembly and World Motor Sports Council meeting, would be a popular option for teams and drivers who rated the track on the Asian side highly before it was dropped from this year’s calendar.
Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone dropped a hint on Tuesday when he told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport that he was going to Istanbul “to try and revive the Turkish Grand Prix and take part in the world council.”
France, which has been seeking a return with either its centrally located Magny-Cours circuit or more southerly Le Castellet venue, might be another possibility although that trail appears to have gone cold in recent weeks.
Another option could be Austria, whose former Oesterreichring (also known as the A1 Ring) has now been revamped by new owners Red Bull since it last hosted a grand prix in 2003 and is an easy drive from Budapest.
Helmut Marko, a close aid to Red Bull’s billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz, was quoted in Austria this week as saying that a grand prix in the country could not be ruled out: “With Mateschitz, you can never say never. Let’s see how it develops.”
Red Bull have won the drivers’ and constructors’ championships for the past three years and Mateschitz is close to Ecclestone.
Formula One had a record 20 races this season but the absence of New Jersey, which had been due to make its debut with a race on June 16 while the debt-stricken Spanish city of Valencia dropped off the list, had reduced that to 19.
Subbed by AJN.