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Teams claim calendar fixed without consultation

28 September 2011

Just as F1 fans began to believe that the 2012 schedule had been set in something approaching stone, the teams' association FOTA has launched a new attack on the biggest campaign in the sport's history.

While there are few objections to the inclusion of 20 races on the calendar for next year, the pattern of the final part of the schedule has raised some red flags amongst the participants - although their objections appear to have fallen on deaf ears among those charged with drawing up the fixture list.

According to Spain's Diario Sport newspaper, there are concerns that the final races of the year - from Singapore in late September, via Japan, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi and the USA, to Brazil in November - have not been properly thought out in terms of logistics and cost, and FOTA has written to both the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone requesting a rethink, pointing out that the schedule was published without being signed off by the teams.

According to the Concorde Agreement, any calendar containing more than 17 races, and those with more than half of its schedule outside Europe and the USA, needs to be approved by the participants. The report also claims that the teams believe they have the right to renegotiate commercial terms with Ecclestone if the season moves beyond the maximum of 17 grands prix approved by the Concorde Agreement, although whether that option was pursued in 2011, when 20 races were also slated prior to the withdrawal of Bahrain, remains unclear.

Ecclestone, typically, has reacted with apparent disregard for the concerns, claiming that the teams should be grateful he is putting the calendar together at all.

"They should go to the police," he joked, "They are lucky we have got races, otherwise they would all go out of business. The teams don't do the calendar, I do. They can't come now with their proposals. It's my decision so, if someone is going to do something, it's me. "They don't have to go if they don't want to, but wouldn't the real problem be if there were no races to go to?”


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