2014 F1 Calendar – Latest Developments

In late July, we published an extensive blog post looking at current and future F1 destinations. We also analyzed the long-term prospects for each of the races. You can read the post here

The European summer races are the backdrop for the annual F1 ‘silly season’, which refers to the maneuvering between drivers for the best seats on the grid in the upcoming season. A parallel silly season is being played out this year for slots on the 2014 F1 calendar. With twenty races being the likely season limit as demanded by teams and recently confirmed by the sport’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, and several new races already contracted for 2014, there promises to be at least one disappointed promoter without a slot on next year’s calendar.

The provisional calendar for the 2014 F1 season is due to be announced in less than a month. So will there be any surprises? Read on to find out more.

India takes a sabbatical in 2014

Buddh circuit, home of the Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix
Image b Jaypee Sports via Wikimedia Commons

It has already been confirmed that India will not feature on the 2014 calendar. This will allow for the race to be moved to an early season calendar slot with the other Asian fly-away races in 2015, a place which Bernie Ecclestone always preferred for the race.

New Jersey (New York) race in doubt, again

Formula 1 on the streets of New Jersey?
Image by © Red Bull Media House

After being penciled in for a race on this year’s calendar and then postponed, the chances of the New Jersey street circuit seeing F1 action in 2014 are once again looking unlikely due to a lack of financing. The organizers are unusual in attempting to stage an F1 race on a temporary street circuit without the benefit of any government subsidy and it looks like the ambitious funding target of $100m USD required for 2014 is not going to be raised in time.

Austria to return in 2014 courtesy of Red Bull

F1 will return to Austria in 2014
Image by © Red Bull Media House

Not content with owning the all conquering Red Bull team, Red Bull founder Dieter Mateschitz has also secured his own race at the Austrian circuit now owned by the company. In July, Mateschitz signed a seven year deal to bring the race back to Austria from 2014. The Redbullring is a circuit which F1 knows well of course, having visited last in 2003 when it was known as the A1 Ring. Whilst many in the paddock are happy at the prospect of returning to a classic (though much modified) F1 destination, there are some hurdles to clear for the race to go ahead in 2014 such as getting approval from the local government to increase spectator capacity for the event. A provisional date of 6th July has been set aside for the 2014 Austrian F1 Grand Prix.

Russian race will go ahead in Sochi

sochi circuit map

The first Russian Formula One race, to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the same complex which will also hold the 2014 winter Olympics, is expected to receive a late season slot in next year’s calendar. This is despite a recent dispute between the promoters of the race and the Russian motorsport governing body, which resulted in a missed deadline for submitting the  application to hold a race in 2014. Given the strong political support for the race – President Putin personally signed the contract with Bernie Ecclestone three years ago – we expect this dispute to be resolved and the race to go ahead. With Sauber recently confirming the signing of 17 year old Russian driver Sergey Siritkin for 2014, it looks like Russian fans will have even more reason to come along and support their first home F1 race.

2014 Spanish Grand Prix to be held in Barcelona, not Valencia

Circuit_de_Catalunya_Formula_One
Image by vroig via Wikimedia Commons

As we predicted in our blog post in July, it now looks almost certain that the proposed race-sharing deal between the Spanish venues in Barcelona and Valencia will not go ahead. The reality is that the local government in Valencia, the promoter of the race, does not have the funds to stage another race on the harbourside street circuit. The organizers in Barcelona who have wasted no time in beginning ticket sales for the 2014 race at the Catalan venue.

Mexico City, the 2014 wildcard?

A view of Mexico City
Image by Eneas via Wikimedia Commons

With two drivers on the current grid and Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, taking a strong interest, the likelihood of F1 making a return to Mexico has increased and it could be as soon as 2014. The track in Mexico City which last hosted a race in 1992 will need work to bring it up to current F1 standards, but those in the know believe the race has a strong chance of going ahead as early as next year, probably in a late season slot back to back with the race in Austin, Texas.

A twenty race calendar for 2014

At one stage, there was a possibility of the F1 calendar being extended from nineteen races this year to twenty two races in 2014. This was always going to be very hard to get the teams to agree to, a fact that Ecclestone appears to have accepted with his recent confirmation of a twenty race season limit.

India has already agreed to take a year off in 2014, which makes next year’s juggling act a little easier for Ecclestone (though complicates the organization of the 2015 calendar!)

The promoters of the New Jersey race may have a signed contract for 2014, but if they can’t raise the funds required to stage the race, which looks increasingly likely, then they will not be on the 2014 calendar and will need to start focusing on a slot for 2015 and beyond.

Of the other new races signed up for 2014, Austria and Russia both look strong possibilities to follow through on their contractual obligations and be ready to stage their respective races. Importantly, both races also have provisional dates already set aside – Austria in July and Russia in October.

If Ecclestone decides to include a Mexican race in 2014’s calendar, then another race will have to make way to avoid exceeding the twenty race limit. This would more than likely be the unsuccessful Korean race, though Australia and China are also said to be in the firing line.

It is also possible that Ecclestone will force more circuits into sharing arrangements in the near future to accommodate the addition of new destinations on the F1 calendar, though new arrangements of this type are not expected before at least 2015.

The provisional 2014 F1 calendar is due to be announced in late September. Given the recent spate of developments concerning next year’s calendar, it would not be a surprise for late alterations to occur between the provisional announcement and the ratification of the calendar by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, in December.

Follow us on facebook, twitter and Google+ to keep up to date with all the news on the 2014 F1 calendar and get ready to start planning your trip to an F1 race.

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