F1 calendar news roundup: January 2018

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News and rumors about the future direction of the F1 calendar focused on Northern Europe this month, with a visit to Denmark from new F1 boss Chase Carey, Nurburgring back in the frame for 2019 and Dutch MotoGP circuit Assen inspected as a potential host of the Dutch Grand Prix.

Several stories also emerged this month after the annual meeting of F1’s race promoters in London, including a new proposal for a street race in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Ex-F1 team boss David Richards also threw his support behind keeping the British Grand Prix on the calendar beyond 2019. In other news, the US State Department issued a new travel advisory on January 11 which includes Azerbaijan in a list of countries with an increased security threat. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Azerbaijan,” the advisory said. Finally, Liberty Media is also reportedly considering shifting the start times for most F1 races back by 70 minutes in 2018 (from 14:00 to 15:10) to boost TV audiences.

NURBURGRING SET FOR 2019 RETURN?

Mirco Markfort, the CEO of Nurburgring, has confirmed that he has spoken with Liberty Media about bringing the historic circuit back to the F1 calendar as early as 2019, according to Autosport. A previous race-sharing agreement which saw the German Grand Prix alternate between the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring collapsed in 2013 due to financial issues at the Nurburgring that eventually resulted in the circuit changing hands. “We really would appreciate to have Formula 1 back at the Nurburgring in 2019,” Markfort told Autosport. “This will only be possible if we take meaningful economic surrounding conditions into consideration.”

CHASE CAREY BACKS DANISH GP PLANS

The Daily Mail was one of many news outlets reporting on Formula 1 Chairman Chase Carey’s visit to Copenhagen, as plans for a 2020 race on the streets of the Danish capital pick up steam. After meeting with the Mayor, Carey said “we’re excited about the opportunity to explore a potential race here in Denmark. I think Copenhagen represents the type of location that we think can really provide a great platform.” The presence of Danish driver Kevin Magnussen on the current F1 grid (plus two Finns and a Swede) also boosts the chances of a race being a success. The last race in Scandinavia was the Swedish Grand Prix from 1973-1978.

VIETNAM BACK ON F1 RADAR WITH PROPOSED STREET RACE IN HANOI

Forbes reports that talks are ongoing about holding a race in Vietnam, but that significant obstacles remain to realizing the latest proposal for a street race in the capital, Hanoi. This is not the first time that Vietnam has been mentioned as a potential host for F1. Bernie Ecclestone reportedly turned down an offer to sign a ten-year contract with race promoters in Vietnam before he was replaced as F1 boss last year, mainly because “[Vietnam] hasn’t got any racing history at all.”

DAVID RICHARDS SUPPORTS BRITISH GP

In his new role as Chairman of Britain’s Motor Sport Association (MSA), David Richards (ex-boss of Benetton and BAR) said “it would be a significant threat to the position of British motorsport not to have a round of the Formula 1 world championship in this country.” The British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), which owns Silverstone, activated a break clause in its F1 contract last year, claiming the high annual contract fee (which increases each year) is making the event unprofitable. If no solution is found, the 2019 British Grand Prix will be the last event held. “The MSA will do what it can to ensure the Grand Prix’s long-term future in this country,” said Richards. [Source F1i.com]

ASSEN POTENTIAL VENUE FOR DUTCH GP

The push to bring F1 back to the Netherlands for the first time in over 30 years continues to gain traction, according to DutchNews.nl. Earlier this month, F1 race director Charlie Whiting inspected the Assen circuit, which is best known for hosting MotoGP in recent years, declaring that only minor changes are needed to bring it up to speed for Formula 1. “It’s extremely good to hear that Charlie Whiting is also very happy with the track, the modern facilities and the level of maintenance,” said Assen circuit boss Arjan Bos. “His positive judgement is an important step in the right direction to get Formula 1 back to the Netherlands, but we are not there yet. Far from it.”

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Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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