Ecclestone Wants Later F1 Date

Construction on the Formula One race track in southeast Travis County
Construction on the Formula One race track in southeast Travis County

New fuel has been added to the fire surrounding the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin. On July 28, Autosport reported that Formula One Man­agement CEO Bernie Ecclestone wants the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas pushed back from June 17, 2012, to Nov. 18, and the revised schedule was given to teams over the weekend. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile World Motor Sport Council gave preliminary approval to the June date last month; the schedule will not be finalized until the 2011 season finishes in Novem­ber. However, the proposed change isn't about avoiding the Austin summer heat. Instead, it's about rejiggering the 20-event tour to give more time for the political situation in Bahrain to cool down before its scheduled race. Such major shifts in the calendar are rare, and Ecclestone would need the approval of both the FIA and the 12 racing teams for a new calendar. That could be tough: Renault team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport that the switch would mean a logistical nightmare of seven races, back-to-back, on three different continents. Locally, a switch could also impact the timing of the project's application for $25 million from the state's Major Events Trust Fund; local organizers claimed that it had to be finalized by July 31, but by law, it can only be released within a year of the event. Circuit of the Americas spokesman Jeff Hahn said they had received no formal word from either F1 or the FIA, and so the Austin project is still aiming for the June date.

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