The FIA released the provisional 2007 calendar this week and the San Marino Grand Prix was absent but Imola hopes for a reprieve. Renovation to the paddock and pits is due to begin soon and there is a month's gap on the calendar between Bahrain on...
The FIA released the provisional 2007 calendar this week and the San Marino Grand Prix was absent but Imola hopes for a reprieve. Renovation to the paddock and pits is due to begin soon and there is a month's gap on the calendar between Bahrain on April 15th and Barcelona on May 13th, which gives space for Imola to be reinstated in its usual slot as the first European race of the season.
According to Italian news agency ANSA Massimo Marchignoli, the mayor of Imola, was surprised to find the race not on the calendar. "Certainly, the appearance of this FIA document is unexpected," he is quoted as saying.
"Only a few days ago, (Bernie) Ecclestone told the president of Sagis that the race would be held on April 29." Sagis is the company that runs Imola. "I've noticed that there's a month-long hole in the calendar. Everything seems to be telling us: 'Imola, you've still got a place if you get things sorted out'."
Sagis President Federico Bendinelli said Ecclestone had informed him that providing the improvements to the circuit met the agreed conditions Imola would be reinstated when the calendar is confirmed in October.
Meanwhile, the European GP at the Nurburgring is also off the calendar but it's likely that the circuit could hold the German event next year. It's been speculated that the Nurburgring could co-host the race with Hockenheim, Germany's usual GP location, on alternate years.
It has to be said that the provisional 2007 calendar is unusual; it has been released rather earlier than normal, there are no circuits listed, only countries, and there are none of the familiar notations such as "subject to contract" etc.
The Melbourne season opener is March 18th, which is quite late, and then there's a three week break before the second race in Malaysia and then a week between Malaysia and Bahrain. It's strange to have Melbourne out on its own as generally flyaway events are co-ordinated to cut down on travelling.
It's thought that Australia's date could be moved to early in March and another race added a week later, then Malaysia and Bahrain could be the first week of April. That would tie in with Imola being reinstated on April 29th to start the European season. It's only speculation but it seems likely that the calendar will be subject to a certain amount of re-shuffling.