It is an area of the sport's jurisdiction normally controlled by commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, but perhaps in evidence of the collision course on which many believe the pair are firmly set, FIA President Jean Todt has insisted that the 2012 F1 calendar will be composed of 20 grands prix rather than the 21 laid out on the preliminary schedule released last week.
Following Friday's meeting of the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Barcelona, a provisional 2012 calendar was released including a record 21 races – but Todt has since revealed that one of them will face the chop.
“Absolutely not,” the Frenchman told Spanish newspaper Diario Sport
when asked about the prospect of an unprecedented 21 grands prix next season. “There are 21 dates, but the championship will be with 20 grands prix. We don't know which one will go, but the world championship will be 20 races.”
The only race with a question mark against it at present is the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, pencilled in for 6 May but marked as 'subject to confirmation' due to an ongoing dispute between organisers and Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone over hosting charges, with consistently low crowd numbers – ostensibly the product of excessively high ticket prices, themselves prompted by Ecclestone's fees – another cause for concern.
The sole new addition to the 2012 schedule is F1's return to America with the United States Grand Prix
in Austin, Texas on 17 June – although organisers fear high temperatures would make running the race then unfeasible [see separate story – click here
] – whilst Spain is the only country with two slots, around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya
in May and the Valencia Street Circuit in July.
To see the provisional F1 2012 calendar, click here