Ecclestone dashes Austrian GP hopes


Bernie Ecclestone has dashed hopes of a return to the former A1-Ring in 2013, claiming that if Turkey is unable to host a race the calendar will revert to 19 races.

When New Jersey confirmed that it would not be able to host a race until 2014, at the earliest, it appeared the 2013 calendar would consist of just 19 races, following 2012's record 20.

However, all that changed recently when the World Motor Sport Council announced that not only was it moving the German Grand Prix forward, it was leaving a slot open in late July for an unnamed European Grand Prix.

Speculation focussed on Turkey, partly due to the fact that the WMSC was meeting in Istanbul ahead of the FIA Awards Gala, and partly due to claims from the new management at the Istanbul circuit that it was in talks with Ecclestone.

Turkish delight turned to misery however, when the government said it would not be able to assist with funding, at which point attention shifted to the former A1-Ring, now owned by Dietrich Mateschitz and renamed the Red Bull Ring. Speaking at the weekend, Mateschitz' motor sport advisor, Helmut Marko, admitted that the circuit was open to the idea of F1 returning.

However, talking to Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper, Ecclestone has poured cold water on the idea, saying that if Turkey cannot host a race the calendar will revert to 19 races.

Asked about the possibility of F1 returning to Austria, Ecclestone replied: "Really? Who says that? Until now I have not talked about this with anyone.

"At the moment I am thinking more about Turkey and a return to Istanbul," he continued, before adding: "At the moment I think that we will have only 19 grands prix next year. That would not be a big problem for F1."

Maybe not, but it's a distinct pain the arse for the teams, official, marshals, fans and just about everyone else, not to mention the organisers of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the MotoGP round at the Sachsenring (in Germany), both of which have been rescheduled to fit in with Ecclestone's and the FIA's ever changing plans.

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Published: 12/12/2012
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