FIA changes F1 schedule, says, 'Go, Canada'

First the United States, now Canada: North America is off the Formula One calendar. Canada has been replaced by a new race in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for 2009 per a revised schedule issued Thursday by the FIA. The Abu Dhabi race will...

First the United States, now Canada: North America is off the Formula One calendar.

Canada has been replaced by a new race in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for 2009 per a revised schedule issued Thursday by the FIA. The Abu Dhabi race will end an 18-race season in mid-November. Nine races will be held in Europe, seven in Asia, one in South America and one in Australia.

Additionally, the Turkish Grand Prix switches from August to what was Canada's June slot. The Italian and Belgium races switch dates, moving the Belgian race to the end of August and the Italian event to mid-September.

Renewal of a US Grand Prix continues to generate talk, which might or might not be helped along by the scheduled appearance in December of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco. The most recent home to the USGP was the Speedway. Murmurs from the continent continue that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone wants a race in Las Vegas. Considering the impact -- read: hurt -- of the current economic crisis on Las Vegas, city fathers at Gambling Central might be wanting a new attraction, too.

Schedule revision was one of a number of actions taken Tuesday in an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council. The Council gave FIA president Max Mosley authority to negotiate with the newly formed Formula One Teams Association on measures to cut spending in the sport from 2010, and the Council unanimously voted to let teams equalize engine performance through 2009 in advance of cost-cutting measures for 2010.

Speaking to BBC Radio and calling F1 in its current form unsustainable, Mosley said he foresees teams dropping out if costs aren't contained.

"You can't run a business where outgo is two to three times the income, not for very long" he said. He estimated the sport could lose two or three independent teams and would no longer be a credible sport with only 14 cars on the grid. He wants to reduce the cost of drivetrains. He said his concern predates the current global credit crisis.

"We can survive through 2009 but if we don't get this done by 2010, we may be in problems."

In other matters, FIA Deputy President for Sport, Marco Piccinini, submitted his resignation, a year ahead of the end of his term, to be effective from the next General Assembly meeting, Nov. 7. The Council agreed to propose to the General Assembly that the sporting power in India change hands and the body mandated an FIA presidential representative to sort out national sporting authority in Germany. The Council also decided top three finishers in a revived Formula Two championship will be eligible to obtain superlicenses.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Tony George