Draft calendar a work in progress for Bernie
The 2012 F1 calendar announced by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in June has been thrown away after Bernie Ecclestone made major changes in a new version which has been circulated to the teams.
Ecclestone told Motor Sport that the June schedule was “a draft calendar that wasn’t really for publishing”.
He has moved both the Bahrain and US Grands Prix to November, and nearly every race has had to shuffle around to make the revised version work. However, at the time of writing it was not yet official, and Ecclestone stressed that it is still a work in progress.
Turkey is now absent from the schedule, trimming it to 20 races from the provisional 21. Ecclestone insists that there is no way back for the Istanbul race, although the organisers say they have not given up. Bahrain, originally slated to open the season prior to Australia, has been moved to
November 4. The event will form a Middle Eastern double-header, running a week after Abu Dhabi.
Ecclestone has confirmed that he moved Bahrain at the request of the hosts, in order to allow more time for the country to sort out its problems. If it does run on that date it will be some 32 months since the previous race in the country, held in March 2010. In the wake of concerns about hot weather in June, the US GP in Austin has been moved from its position alongside Canada to November 18. Austin City Council had made it clear that it did not want the June date in a debate about
granting support to the race because of pollution concerns.
Austin will now form a double-header with the Brazilian Grand Prix a week later, even though the two venues are a considerable distance apart, making for logistical problems.
Meanwhile Korea has gone back to October, having provisionally been given an April slot.
Having moved three flyaway races to the end of the year Ecclestone has tried to create space by switching India from October to April, so the country will host its second GP just six months after the first. However, there are concerns that it will be too hot at that time of year.