31 July 2011
Logistics concerns over revised F1 calendar
Logistical concerns surround the final portion of the revised 2012 F1 schedule issued in Budapest this weekend.
Having lamented the loss of the Turkish Grand Prix, F1 team bosses appear to have further concerns over the revised 2012 calendar distributed in the Hungaroring paddock over the weekend.
The demise of Istanbul Park reduces the calendar back to 20 races, but the reshuffled schedule - which would see Bahrain move next to Abu Dhabi at the end of the year, and India shift in the opposite direction to sit closer to China, as well as new spots for the inaugural USGP in Austin - has apparently caused headaches in terms of logistics on the run-in to the final in Brazil.
With Japan and Korea proposed to run back-to-back ahead of the Abu Dhabi/Bahrain and US/Brazil double-headers, there are concerns about the cost and timescales involved with moving equipment and personnel from continent to continent, and team bosses are expected to ask F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone to rethink the last few weeks of the campaign.
“We plan to ask for a rethink for the logistics,” Lotus Renault team principal Eric Boullier told journalists after he and his peers had chance to discuss the revised schedule in Budapest, “We need to make it a little bit easier for the task force and a bit cheaper by way of moving logistics differently. We have a thought between us already and we would like to suggest a couple of ideas. We are not involved in the final decision of the calendar, but I understand it is not definite so we have room to ask for discussion and to make suggestions.”
The teams may simply be asking for more time between races in the run-in, rather than moving events around, and that will come as good news for USGP organisers, who appear to have been handed a break by the decision to reschedule the Austin race in October. While the move is seen as an opportunity to avoid the hottest time of the year in Texas, it will also provide valuable extra time for the Circuit of the Americas to gets its track and infrastructure complete.
The venue, while happy to 'tweet' pictures of earthwork developments, still has little in the way of buildings, and rumours suggest that it is already beginning to fall behind schedule after rows over the provision of funding from the state's Major Events Fund. The first instalment of Austin's fee to host the race is due today [Sunday], but clearance to access funds from the MEF has yet to be rubber-stamped.
"We have an application currently under review," Brooke Botello, a spokeswoman for the state comptroller's office, told the Austin American Statesman newspaper in an email, "We're aware of a possible date change and, as part of our review, we will take in any new information that may affect the timeline for disbursement under Major Events Trust Fund Statute."
Meanwhile, suggestions that Valencia may take over - or at least take a share in - the Spanish Grand Prix in order to free up another date for future additions to the calendar appear to have been allayed for another season, as both the street circuit and Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya remain on the new provisional schedule. The double-header between the Spanish and Monaco GPs has been dissolved after the teams suffered logistical problems in order to make the traditional Thursday start in the Principality.
"Bernie [Ecclestone] asked us if we were okay with the date change and, as we are still the first race in Europe, we accepted completely," Barcelona circuit boss Salvador Servia told Spain's Diario Sport.
The full revised schedule is as follows:
March 18 Australia
March 25 Malaysia
April 8 China
April 22 India
May 13 Spain
May 27 Monaco
June 10 Canada
June 24 Europe
July 8 Great Britain
July 22 Germany
July 29 Hungary
September 2 Belgium
September 9 Italy
September 23 Singapore
October 7 Japan
October 14 Korea
October 28 Abu Dhabi
November 4 Bahrain
November 18 United States
November 25 Brazil
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