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Austrian GP return to mark end for New Jersey?

NEWS STORY
23/07/2013

Mat Coch writes:

After a decade's absence it was today confirmed that the Austrian Grand Prix is set to return to the Formula One calendar in 2014. It's an announcement which looks to have a serious impact on next year's calendar as it likely means either the New Jersey race will not go ahead - as predicted by Pitpass - or that there will be no mid-season break.

Confirmation of the race at the former Osterreichring came this morning when the Red Bull drink company issued a press release to the Austrian media stating that negotiations for F1 to return to the circuit had been concluded.

"Dietrich Mateschitz and Bernie Ecclestone have reached agreement to the effect that Formula One will come back to Styria next year," it read.

It had been anticipated the New Jersey event, featuring the New York skyline backdrop, would be held on June 22 before the F1 circus moved to Silverstone two weeks later on July 6. However today's announcement that the Austrian race will be held on July 6 doesn't fit with the logical schedule unless heavy reshuffling takes place.

It is expected the European season will begin in Spain in early May, followed by a two day test at the Barcelona circuit (as is permitted under new regulations for 2014). The sport would then presumably move on to Monaco for May 25 prior to heading across the North Atlantic to Montreal.

With the sport in North America it would make sense to then head to New Jersey the following weekend, however the FIA has announced that date is reserved exclusively for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The next available date is therefore June 22, two weeks ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, which leaves no time for the British Grand Prix as the season moves rapidly through Europe.

The alternative would be to have the New Jersey race, if it goes ahead, on June 22 before heading to Austria, pushing the British Grand Prix to July 20. However the knock on of that would be the German and Hungarian Grands Prix being moved back, with the Hungarian race possibly taking place on August 10. With Belgium currently expected to host its race on August 22 that solution doesn't allow time for the mid-year break.

The only other solution – and one which seems unlikely as it would saturate a comparatively weak market - would be to host back-to-back races in the United States, with Austin hosting its race on November 16 and New Jersey the following weekend (or vice versa). That option would see the Brazilian Grand Prix delayed until November 30 at the earliest.

Making its official Formula One debut in 1964 the Austrian Grand Prix was held on an airfield at Zeltweg before moving to the Osterreichring in the 1970's where it remained until the mid-80's.

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