World Council business

THE FIA World Council met last week in Paris, France, to vote through a number of important changes for motor sport. The biggest upsets came in rallying, while in F1 the Council merely confirmed proposals from the F1 Commission.

It was agreed that as F1 drivers are professionals the overtaking rules should not be legislated beyond the fact that maneuvers should not be dangerous. The Council voted for changes to the qualifying procedure, allowing for a single session on Saturday, and changes to the starting procedure meaning that the official starter can now start a race at any time after the red light comes on (the rule previously stated that there must be a delay of four-to-seven seconds).

Other procedural changes include new flag-signaling regulations and the decision to introduce larger cockpit openings for 1997.

It was also decided that the entry list for a season will be published 22 days after the last race of the previous year. This means that we should know the 1996 entry on December 5, 1995.

The F1 calendar which the Council published was something of a surprise: the season will end a month earlier than normal - thanks to an agreement between the teams to increase the off season to 18 weeks. The list of dates published included 17 events - although F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone insists that there will only be 16 races. There were no dates for the Japanese, Pacific or Indonesian Grands Prix, but three dates were "blocked".

The dates are as follows: March 10 - Adelaide (Australia); March 31 - Interlagos (Brazil); April 7 -ĘBuenos Aires (to be confirmed); April 28 - date blocked; May 5 - Imola (San Marino); May 19 - Monaco; June 2 - Barcelona (Spain); June 16 - Montreal (Canada); June 30 - Magny-Cours (France); July 14 - Silverstone (Great Britain); July 28 - Hockenheim (Germany); August 11 - Budapest (Hungary); August 25 - Spa (Belgium); September 8 - Monza (Italy); September 22 - Estoril (Portugal) - subject to a new media center being built at the track; the October 6 and October 13 dates were both blocked.

Although there was no United States GP listed, such an event may be possible on one of the "blocked" dates and we hear that Ecclestone is now in the United States trying to convince the McDonalds hamburger chain to support the event.

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