MARCH 9, 1998
Big calendar shake-up next year
THE Formula 1 team bosses met in Melbourne to discuss the F1 calendar. We understand that they were told that the French╩Grand╩Prix will be happening and that they may be asked if they would like to go to a 17th race in South Africa in the autumn as there is currently a five-week gap between the Luxembourg GP on September 27 and the Japanese GP on November 1. Such an event would require all the equipment being flown directly from South Africa to Japan but it is possible from a logistical point of view. The addition of a seventeenth race would require the agreement of all the teams before the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council on March 18.
There was also some discussion about the 1999 calendar with the team bosses apparently being told to expect a major shake-up of dates in comparison to what has become the norm in recent years with Malaysia, China and Korea all expected to be part of the calendar. We have heard stories that the Australian GP will be moved from its current date back to the end of the season and twinned with one of the Far East races, while South Africa is believed to be bidding to kick off the series in March.
Bernie Ecclestone says that there is "a good chance" of race in Middle East and that the United States is also a possibility, although these may not be until 2000 or 2002 when some of the existing F1 contracts run out. "The problem is that there are only 16 races and I have at least 19 people who want them," said Ecclestone.
There were rumors in Melbourne that South Australian Premier John Olsen was there to bid for the Australian Grand Prix to go back to Adelaide in the year 2002. Melbourne has the contract until the end of 2001.
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