F1 Releases '14 Calendar With Russian GP As Only New Stop; Formula E Unveils Schedule
Races in New Jersey, Mexico and South Korea "were dropped" from F1's official '14 calendar on Wednesday, with the season remaining at 19 races instead of a record 22, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. New Jersey's Grand Prix of the America, with New York's skyscraper skyline as a backdrop, "had been due for a debut this year but that had to be postponed due to financial issues which continue to plague the race." Organizers said they were working on "restructured financial arrangements" while the sport's CEO Bernie Ecclestone said he looked forward to "first-class inaugural Grand Prix of America in 2015." Mexico "would have been making its return in November after a 22-year absence but there have been doubts over the readiness of the Mexico City track." The poorly-attended South Korean race, one of the least popular among F1's traveling fraternity, "has sustained heavy losses." India "has also been axed from the 2014 calendar, although race promoters are hoping to return in 2015, while Austria is back after a decade away and Russia hosts a race for the first time in next year's Winter Olympic city of Sochi" (REUTERS, 12/4). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported the New Jersey race "has been beset by financial and logistical problems since it was initially proposed in 2012 and there must now be severe doubts as to whether it will ever take place." But New Jersey race organizer Leo Hindery said that "he was still pressing ahead with plans for the race and Ecclestone said in a statement he had 'no doubt' it would happen in 2015." Hindery: "Bringing a world-class race to the world's largest media market is a huge undertaking that has required balancing construction of our road course, without tapping any public money, with the sport's own timing demands" (BBC, 12/4).
NORMAL KICK OFF: SKY SPORTS' James Galloway reported the season as unusual "will kick off with the Australian GP, on March 16, but for the first time since 2007 the Melbourne event will not run back-to-back with Malaysia, which will instead be held a week ahead of the Bahrain GP on March 30." This change "comes despite teams expressing concerns about the logistical sense of a two-week break between the season's opening two flyaway events." One significant change to the provisional calendar, however, is that Abu Dhabi and not Brazil "will stage the season finale on November 23, the third time the Yas Marina circuit has been given the honour" (SKY SPORTS, 12/4). CRASH wrote the promoter of the Russian Grand Prix "inked an agreement with the Russian Automobile Federation" on Tuesday. Under the agreement, the RAF "will become the Russian Grand Prix sporting organiser ahead of the inaugural event in Sochi next October." The agreement "is good news, as a dispute between the two saw RAF miss a deadline imposed by the FIA to make an official application to join the 2014 F1 calendar back in August" (CRASH, 12/3).
F1 ON NBC: The NBC Sports Group's coverage of the 2013 F1 season reached 10.3 million viewers for all 19 races accross NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC, up 15% compared to FOX/SPEED's coverage last season (8.9 million). In addition, the four F1 races that aired on NBC this year averaged 1.13 million viewers, up 9% compared to FOX's four-race season average in '12 (1.04 million) (NBC Sports Group).
|2014 F1 CALENDAR
FORMULA E: Formula E Holdings, promoters of the new FIA Formula E Championship, confirmed its '14-15 calendar featuring 10 city-center events spanning four continents. The calendar was submitted to the FIA during its World Motor Sport Council in Paris, France, and will run from September to June '15. Beijing will remain the host venue for the world’s first fully-electric race commencing on Sept. 13, 2014 -- one week earlier than previously planned. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said, "It’s a great feeling to be able to confirm our calendar for the inaugural Formula E season and we’re very thankful to all the cities, and candidate cities, for showing their commitment to sustainable mobility." All Formula E events will feature a free practice session, qualifying session, one-hour race and live music concert taking place in a single day (Saturday) to minimize disruption to the city and its surrounding areas. Precise circuit layouts for each venue will be revealed at a later stage but all will use city-center locations. Tickets for the first rounds will go on sale in '14 (Formula E).
|2014-2015 FORMULA E CALENDAR
||Rio de Janeiro
||Uruguay||Punta del Este