Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that there will be 20 rounds on next year's Formula One calendar, and hinted that the schedule may be poised to increase further in order to accommodate the number of countries bidding to host races.
Announcing that the Chinese Grand Prix would continue to play a part in F1's globe-trotting in 2011, and countering rumours to the contrary, Ecclestone also confirmed that no other races would be dropped from the schedule, despite India being due to join the fray next October. One of Spain's two races - most likely the unpopular 'street' circuit around Valencia's Americas Cup port - was supposedly under threat, along with other events in Hungary and Turkey, despite both being circuits in which Ecclestone has been heavily involved.
With Korea, which F1's commercial supremo confirmed would go ahead in 2010, joining the fray this season, and both Russia and the USA high on the priority list for coming seasons, the calendar would either have to suffer a cull or expand massively.
"We are not dropping anything," Ecclestone told journalists in Shanghai, "Get ready for 25 races."
Ecclestone confirmed that China would remain on the calendar next year, despite persistently poor attendances at the Shanghai International Circuit, and would continue to operate on a 'rolling contract' for the foreseeable future, despite speculation that officials might not take up the race's option for another five years after making losses of around $146m a year.
"We've talked to them all the time about everything, we're happy with everything, there are no dramas," Ecclestone insisted, "The contract is ongoing - it will go on as a rolling contract. I'll be here [next year], but they're [just] not promoting it properly, it's a simple as that. In the centre of Shanghai, you wouldn't even know there's a race here."
Having recently visited the new venue at Yeongnam, Ecclestone was also able to confirm that Korea would make its F1 debut later this season, after the rumour mill claimed that the facility would not be completed on time.
"All the pits are built, the media centre's built, everything's done," Ecclestone reported, "They're just fitting it out. It's on the calendar - we'll be there."