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DATE News (chronologically)
06/24/09
f1
FOTA's 'New Formula' eyes 17-race calendar  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Queensland's state government has not ruled out making a bid to host a round of the breakaway championship on the Gold Coast.

Responding to the leaked FOTA calendar that showed Adelaide or Surfer's Paradise as representing Australia, sports minister Phil Reeves admitted it is a possibility.

Surfer's Paradise has for years hosted Indycars, and from 2009 the A1GP series will race on the coastal street circuit.

"We are always interested in bringing world-class events to Queensland and certainly would not rule out the possibility of hosting a formula one race on the Gold Coast," Reeves said.

Reeves' Victorian government counterpart Tim Holding, however, rubbished claims that the prestige of Melbourne's Australian grand prix risks being usurped.

"It's been made very clear on a number of occasions that if formula one racing is to take place in Australia, it will take place in Melbourne," he said.

"This is just part of the pushing and shoving that formula one is well known for," he added, a sentiment backed up by the Melbourne promoter Drew Ward.

Ward said: "We have every faith Formula One Management will reach a satisfactory resolution and the Australian GP will happen next year in March," he said.

It is not known, meanwhile, if Malaysia would or could bid for a breakaway round, with Sepang boss Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir commenting that the split would turn premier racing into "a beauty contest".

06/23/09 Montreal is on a leaked list of potential venues for the breakaway racing series being discussed by disgruntled Formula One teams.

Under the plan, which appeared on various websites on Tuesday, Montreal would host an event on June 6, 2010.

Several top F1 teams are threatening to leave the circuit after the International Automobile Association, the sport's governing body, announced plans to introduce a 45-million euro ($73 million Cdn) budget cap for 2010 that FIA president Max Mosley said was "essential" if independent teams were to survive.

The FIA plans to sue to prevent the eight members of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) — Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP — from starting their own loop.

The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was removed from the F1 schedule for the 2009 season, though mayor Gérald Tremblay said last week that the city is in talks to bring the race back for 2010.

Montreal is one of 10 former or current F1 stops listed among the 17 venues on the leaked FOTA circuit.

Indianapolis, which last hosted an F1 race in 2007, is also on the list.

06/23/09 (GMM)  While FOTA gets ready to work out a calendar for its breakaway series, it seems increasingly unlikely that many current venues will be able to join the lineup.

What is apparently a leaked possible schedule for 2010 is doing the rounds, and several current tracks are mentioned: Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Suzuka.

It is understood that Monaco's current contract does not provide exclusivity for the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's FOM, while Silverstone is out of contract and would therefore be able to host a breakaway race.

Organizers of the new Abu Dhabi track have expressed interest in hosting both series, but whether this will be possible for Monza and Suzuka is not known.

Hockenheim has a contract to alternate the annual German grand prix with the Nurburgring, and has complained in recent times about the high cost - or guaranteed loss - of hosting the official F1 series.

The issue of contract, however, is problematic, the CEO of the race's organizing body admitted.

"The formula one contract is subject to English law," Karl Josef Schmidt is quoted as saying by the Schwetzinger Zeitung newspaper, indicating that Hockenheim would be keen to accommodate the breakaway.

"We will not appoint English lawyers to do an expensive appraisal before we know that it is absolutely necessary," he added.

Singapore's New Paper, meanwhile, cited a source close to the island Republic's new night race as indicating that its formula one contract does not permit negotiations with a rival series.

Ecclestone's contract with Singapore runs through 2012.

When asked if Singapore could talk with the breakaway, the source said: "We already have one contract.  How many do you want us to sign?"

06/21/09 (GMM)  Rumors that plans for FOTA's breakaway championship are moving forwards abounded on Sunday.

In the paddock of the Silverstone circuit, even a possible name for the series emerged - 'New Formula' - as well as a potential 17-race 2010 calendar.

Former F1 venues including Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Jerez, Imola, Montreal, Indianapolis, Silverstone, Magny Cours and Adelaide were listed on the theoretical calendar, published by the German news agency SID.

Current tracks were also mentioned: Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Suzuka, while potential new venues are Jerez, Portimao, the Lausitzring, Surfer's Paradise (Australia) and even the Finnish capital Helsinki.

Bernie Ecclestone scoffed at the leaked FOTA calendar, wondering how the body can compete with the structure operated by his businesses.

"We organize the venues which don't cost the teams a penny," said Ecclestone.  "I reckon Ferrari and McLaren need us more than we need them.

"All they have to do is pitch up at a track with their sponsors' names all over their cars in exchange for millions of quid and race in front of a worldwide television audience -- which I have set up and keep going.

"The bottom line is they can't afford to set up a rival championship," he added.

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