F1 Moves to November 2012

Update: Austin circuit boss weighs in on schedule change

Waiting a little longer for five green lights: Austin's F1 race moves back to November 2012
Waiting a little longer for five green lights: Austin's F1 race moves back to November 2012 (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Ending months of speculation, the date for the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix at Austin's Circuit of the Americas has been pushed back: The new date is November 18, 2012.

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile World Motor Sport Council voted this morning to approve the new calendar. Locally, the big news is undoubtedly that the inaugural Austin race gets pushed back five months, out of the blistering heat of the provisional date of June 17 and back to the more comfortable weather of November.

UPDATE: Tavo Hellmund, chairman of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix and the man behind the circuit of the Americas, said, "I have been hoping (F1 Management CEO Bernie) Ecclestone would be able to place the USGP in a fall season slot." With the new November date, just behind the season closer in Brazil, he said, "The weather will be mild for the fans and the race could be pivotal in determining a champion for the season." That is an interesting thought: If Hellmund is right, then the Austin race could become what Japan was back in the late 1990s, making it the must-see race of the season when it came to championship points.

The Austin shift is not the only change from the provisional calendar, released back in June. Firstly, the season starts one week later: Australia opens the year on March 18, rather than the June 11 planned start in Bahrain, which now slips behind China and Malaysia. Korea, which was in April, now goes all the way back to October, creating a Fall Asian run with Japan and Singapore.

Another big change? The extension of the mid-season break. The provisional calendar gave the teams four weeks off between Hungary (August 5) and Belgium (September 2.) This new schedule adds a fifth week, meaning no races at all in August.

After that, the big if unsurprising news is that Turkey falls off the calendar completely: With the FIA and the teams dead set against more than 20 races in a year, and the addition of India and the US races, something had to give.

Here is the full calendar, with their dates from the old provisional calendar date in parentheses:

March 18 Australia
March 25 Malaysia (April 1)
April 15 China (April 8)
April 22 Bahrain (March 11)
May 13 Spain (May 20)
May 27 Monaco
June 10 Canada
June 24 European Grand Prix, Valencia, Spain (July 1)
July 8 Great Britain (July 15)
July 22 Germany (July 29)
July 29 Hungary (August 5)
September 2 Belgium
September 9 Italy
September 23 Singapore (September 30)
October 7 Japan (October 14)
October 14 Korea (April 22)
October 28 India
November 4 Abu Dhabi (November 11)
November 18 United States (June 17)
November 25 Brazil (November 25)

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F1, Circuit of the Americas, Tavo Hellmund, Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, FIA, World Motor Sport Council

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