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The 1999 calendar

THE first drafts of a Formula 1 calendar began circulating at Monaco and FIA President Max Mosley said that F1 fans can expect a radically-different list of dates to the existing calendar. Our spies tell us that there will still be 16 races - this has been written into the new Concorde Agreement - and that the series will kick off in Australia as normal. We hear that the F1 circus will then go to Malaysia and Japan before the usual South American races. The series is expected to end in South Africa in November.

Mosley said that the FIA would prefer to have more races so as not to have replace existing venues. "We want to make the championship more of a World Championship," he said. "We don't want to destroy any existing, traditional races. The ideal solution, from an FIA point of view, would be to increase the number of races. We would like to see 20 races, but with a two-day weekend rather than a three-day weekend. We can only do that if the teams agree. So, this is a subject for negotiation at the moment."

We understand that the telephone company Vodaphone has agreed to underwrite a South African GP for the next five years and has already given guarantees to Bernie Ecclestone that the race will go ahead at Kyalami.

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