Despite speculation that France could be rejoining the F1 fray next season, the only addition apparent on the latest provisional calendar is the second American race in New Jersey.
The Grand Prix of America remains the subject of much discussion and rumour over its viability but a schedule leaked at the Singapore Grand Prix
has it installed as the second part of a trans-Atlantic double-header with Montreal in mid-June. The race directly replaces the European Grand Prix in Valencia which, despite provide an interesting backdrop for the F1 circus, has yet to regularly produce either scintillating racing or large crowds.
The New Jersey race, which will also take place on a waterfront street circuit, is one of four dates still awaiting final confirmation - along with Germany, Singapore and Korea - and the calendar, which has still to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, could continue to evolve amid rumours that France is chasing a place at the table and Turkey could be poised to return after a one-year break caused by a disagreement over fees as crowd figures struggled to match expectation at the otherwise well-loved Istanbul Park circuit.
While there are rumours that the latest Concorde Agreement contains the provision to expand the schedule beyond the current 20 races, doubts remain over the viability of both the German and Korean races, both of which have their own financial concerns. Singapore, meanwhile, reaches the end of its initial five-year deal with FOM this weekend, but is widely expected to continue as the calendar's only night race despite organisers debating the fee it pays to host the F1 fraternity. According to Britain's Daily Telegraph
, the event is apparently looking for relief from its already favourable $12m fee on the grounds that it already faces vastly higher set-up costs due to being staged after dark.
Although the provisional schedule remains at 20 races, the loss of Valencia means that it features an historical low of just seven in the sport's European heartland, with the extended travel requirements of going to Asia and the Americas also bringing a record high eight back-to-back rounds. The calendar kicks off with the traditional curtain-raiser in Australia, with three further 'flyaways' before the first couple of European rounds precede the trip to Canada and the USA. The schedule resumes with the British Grand Prix
- moved to late June to avoid a clash with the finals of the Wimbledon tennis tournament - and continues with the remaining four European events, culminating at Monza before heading off through the Far East and Asia ahead of the closing double-header in Austin and Sao Paulo. The Spanish Grand Prix
will take place in Barcelona amid continuing suggestions that the Circuit de Catalunya
could enter a date share with Valencia, while Spa's new deal ensures that it remains a cornerstone of the programme.
The complete provisional schedule is as follows:
March 17 Australia
March 24 Malaysia
April 14 China
April 21 Bahrain
May 12 Spain
May 26 Monaco
June 9 Canada
June 16 United States
(New Jersey) *
June 30 Britain
July 21 Germany
July 28 Hungary
September 1 Belgium
September 8 Italy
September 22 Singapore
October 6 Japan
October 13 Korea
October 27 India
November 3 Abu Dhabi
November 17 United States
November 24 Brazil* denotes races subject to confirmation