F1 To Move to November? Maybe
Ecclestone confirms new provisional calendar is in play
By Richard Whittaker, 11:54AM, Wed. Aug. 10, 2011
The possibility of the inaugural Austin Formula 1 race being shifted back six months has been raised again today. But, and this is the big 'but', it is still not set in stone yet.
F1 Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone raised the possibility of shifting from the proposed June 17, 2012 date at the July 31 Hungarian Grand Prix when he told the press corps that there is a new provisional calendar for the 2012 schedule. Amongst the many changes, the Austin race would move back to November 18.
Does this make the situation clearer? Not really. All this means is that an updated provisional calendar is in circulation, and this would still need to be approved by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile World Motor Sport Council at the end of the current season. As it stands, the provisional schedule could also see a showdown between Ecclestone and the Formula One Teams Association, which has been vocal in its discontent about having seven races on three continents in ten weeks at the end of the season. (Quick note: While Ecclestone has made loud noises about how he will not negotiate on the dates, FOTA forced him to cancel Bahrain by saying they would simply not race while the nation was in near-revolution.)
The shift to November would come with certain benefits, not least that it would move the race out of ozone season. Mayor Lee Leffingwell just released a statement, in which he wrote, "I am pleased that Formula One and Circuit of the Americas are now looking at an event date in the Fall, outside our Ozone Action Season. I believe this date will prove a better experience for the visitors coming to Austin, and is an environmentally sensitive decision."
The frenzied speculation has caused some wilder suggestions. SpeedTV has ruminated that, because the change in date would mean pushing back the application for the Major Events Trust Fund, that "could mean real construction cannot begin until much later this year." Talking to the Circuit people this morning, and they were frankly baffled as to where that idea could have come from: By statute, fund cash can only go towards hosting expenses, not construction costs, and they are totally disconnected. the only impact on track construction would be that it would give them a little more breathing room.