Competition for Future F1 Calendar Slots Intensifies

The 2014 Formula 1 season is not yet underway, yet there is already speculation about new destinations for the sport in 2015 and beyond. In recent weeks, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has outlined some of the back-room deals which will help shape the F1 calendar in coming years.

F1 unlikely to return to India or South Korea in near future

Ecclestone has stated that India will not return to the F1 calendar in 2015 as previously thought. F1’s future in the sub-continent seems contingent on changes to legislation in the country (F1 is currently classified as entertainment rather than sport) to reduce red tape and onerous taxes.

The organisers of the F1 race outside Delhi, which still has one year left to run on its original 5-year F1 contract, will also be hoping for a rebound in the value of the Indian currency to help pay future staging fees.

The news is no better for South Korea. Ecclestone has said a change of government is needed before he will consider bringing F1 back to the country. Despite having three years to run on their current F1 contract, the organisers of the Yeongam race have experienced ongoing financial issues and the race was poorly attended.

Mexico, New Jersey, & France emerge as contenders to hold a race

Ecclestone has recently confirmed that Mexico City is ‘signed for 2015’. With a likely late-season slot pairing Mexico with the race in USA Grand Prix in Austin, that means the organisers still have around 18 months to get the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit (which last hosted an F1 race in 1992) up to 21st century F1 standards.

New Jersey remains in the hunt for a calendar berth in 2015, but this is contingent on the organisers raising the $100m USD required to stage the Port Imperial street race, which they have failed to do in the last two years.

F1 purists will be glad to hear that negotiations are taking place which could see the Magny Cours circuit in France return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2008.

Ecclestone was quoted on as saying “We have got a contract on the table with France for a race at Magny-Cours. To meet the terms of our contract, the organizers will need money and we will want some kind of guarantee that it’s not going to be a one-night stand.”

The Long Shots: London & Long Beach

Jensen Button has thrown his support behind the idea of a street race in central London, taking in some of the capital’s most famous landmarks. The chances of the race becoming a reality, admittedly a long shot, moved one step closer with the announcement that the British government has commenced a consultation on holding ‘closed road motorsport events’, the results of which will be known in the coming months. Read more in The Guardian.

There has also been speculation on F1 returning to the streets of Long Beach in California. The circuit, which was home to the US West F1 Grand Prix between 1976-83, still hosts an annual Indycar race and this year will mark the 40th anniversary of the event.With the IndyCar contract ending in 2015 and support from Bernie Ecclestone, the local council recently discussed the possibility of launching a bid to bring back F1 to Long Beach. However, Autosport reported that the results of the meeting were inconclusive and that further information must be gathered before a vote on the bid is taken.

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