Mystery race added to 2013 F1 calendar UPDATE #3 Austria could return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2013, with Red Bull Ring officials informing governing body the FIA that it would be willing to host a Grand Prix.
After the New Jersey street race was pushed back to 2014, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been working to find a replacement. With a return to France ruled out and Turkey's recent bid unlikely to be backed by the government, the Red Bull Ring could hold the answer for the available race slot on July 21.
"We have the FIA made aware that there is a track with full F1 license," Red Bull Motorsport Director Dr.a's Speed Week newspaper.
Formerly known as the A1-Ring, which hosted F1 races from 1997 to 2003 at it's newer, shorter layout, the circuit was re-opened as the Red Bull Ring in May 2011. It has since hosted rounds for DTM, Formula 2 and various Formula 3 categories. 12/06/12 Formula One Licensing, the intellectual property division of the company which runs F1, has registered a trademark to the name Austrian Grand Prix – a move which paves the way for the historic race to return.
The race first took place in 1964 but was dropped in 2003 after an seven-year stint at the A1-Ring in southern Austria. The 2.7 mile circuit was bought by energy drinks company Red Bull in 2004 and completely renovated. Renamed the Red Bull Ring, the track was reopened last year and has since hosted DTM and F2. An F1 race may also be on the horizon.
On 8 January this year Formula One Licensing registered a pan-European trademark for the title ‘Grosser Preis von Osterreich’ which means ‘Grand Prix of Austria’ in the country’s native language of German. This is a crucial step in the process of bringing a race to the F1 calendar and the trademark application covers three key classes including sports events, radio and television and printed products, such as race programs.
Wherever possible, Formula One Licensing has registered trademarks for the names of races on the calendar and a slot for the Austrian Grand Prix became available on Wednesday. The 2013 calendar was released with a gap on 21 July for a race which is to be confirmed. The slot is free following delays with the proposed Grand Prix of America in New Jersey and the frontrunner to replace it in 2013 is Turkey.
F1’s annual prize giving ceremony is taking place in Istanbul on Friday and the sport’s boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that he has business to do there. “I am going to Istanbul to see if we can get the Turkish GP back,” Ecclestone said earlier this week. Austria is waiting in the wings if this doesn’t come off.
Red Bull’s triple world champion Sebastian Vettel was present for the inauguration of its Austrian track and recently said “I don't know why we don’t go there. For us it would be great for it to be our home Grand Prix. The track is completely Formula One compatible.”
Vettel’s hopes were echoed by Red Bull’s F1 adviser Helmut Marko who said “you can never say never.” The hurdle is likely to be a financial one as F1’s races tend to break even at best unless supported by a government which uses the Grand Prix to boost tourism for the country. Austria has little need for this so the circuit owner could end up being stuck with paying the annual race hosting fees.
“There are sanctioning fees of around $20-30m that need to be paid, so one simply has to ask the question of where does this come from,” says Marko. Until Red Bull comes up with an answer the brakes are likely to remain on the Austrian Grand Prix. Yahoo! Eurosport12/05/12 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship Race Calendar
||15 - 17 Mar|
||Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
||22 - 24 Mar|
||12 - 14 Apr|
||19 - 21 Apr|
||10 - 12 May|
||Monaco (Monte Carlo)
||24 - 26 May|
||07 - 09 Jun|
||Great Britain (Silverstone)
||28 - 30 Jun|
||05 - 07 Jul|
||Additional European event (TBA) *
||19 - 21 Jul|
||26 - 28 Jul|
||23 - 25 Aug|
||06 - 08 Sep|
||20 - 22 Sep|
||04 - 06 Oct|
||11 - 13 Oct|
||India (New Delhi)
||25 - 27 Oct|
||Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
||01 - 03 Nov|
||United States (Austin)
||15 - 17 Nov|
||Brazil (Sao Paulo)
||22 - 24 Nov|
In London, Kevin Eason wrote "there will be little joy in F1 to discover that Turkey could be back on the schedule." The track is regarded as one of the finest, but "spectators shunned the event that was conducted in near-anonymity before being abandoned two years ago." The extra race on the schedule is important because Ecclestone needs to "make a full complement of 20 grands prix promised to broadcasters." London Times12/05/12 Formula One could have 20 races again next season after the sport's governing body said on Wednesday it had penciled in an unspecified European race to make up for a postponed Grand Prix in New Jersey.
The International Automobile Federation said on Wednesday that the German Grand Prix would switch from July 14 to July 7 with July 21 now "reserved for another F1 European event" subject to approval of national bodies.
While no further details were given, speculation focused mainly on the possible return of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.
Germany's revised date would see that race follow on immediately from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 30, according to the previous provisional calendar, while the new event would be back-to-back with Hungary on July 28.
Istanbul, where the FIA is currently holding its annual assembly and World Motor Sports Council meeting, would be a popular option for teams and drivers who rated the track on the Asian side highly before it was dropped from this year's calendar.
Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone dropped a hint on Tuesday when he told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport that he was going to Istanbul "to try and revive the Turkish Grand Prix and take part in the world council."
France, which has been seeking a return with either its central Magny-Cours circuit or Le Castellet in the south, might be another possibility although that trail appears to have gone cold in recent weeks.
Another option could be Austria, whose former Osterreichring (also known as the A1 Ring) has now been revamped by owners Red Bull since it last hosted a grand prix in 2003 and is an easy drive from Budapest.
Helmut Marko, a close aid to Red Bull's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz, was quoted in Austria this week as saying a grand prix in the country could not be ruled out: "With Mateschitz, you can never say never. Let's see how it develops."
Red Bull have won the drivers' and constructors' championships for the past three years and Mateschitz is close to Ecclestone.
Formula One had a record 20 races this season but the absence of New Jersey, which had been due to make its debut with a race on June 16 while the debt-stricken Spanish city of Valencia dropped off the list, had reduced that to 19. Yahoo Eurosport