The calendar is not finished yet

The fact that the FIA World Council has listed Canada on its latest version of the Formula 1 calendar for 2004 is no guarantee that the race in Montreal will take place. It is clear from the FIA press release that the 18th race is dependent on an agreement between the teams - which are demanding $2m apiece to take part in an extra race - and the organizers.

For some years the teams have balked at doing more than 17 races, saying that there is a limit to human endurance and that if the calendar goes beyond 17 events - as set down in the Concorde Agreement - it would be necessary to take on more staff in order to create teams which would overlap rather than rely on the same people at all the races. This is a valid point which the decision-makers in F1 do not seem to care much about (as they do not do all the races themselves) and the motivation for adding an extra race appears only to be one of greed as the money being offered by the new races in Bahrain and China is such that it could not be refused. Another danger, which F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone often used to cite as a good reason not to go beyond 17 races, is that one can have too many races and by doing so bore the viewers, particularly if the action is not spectacular enough.

NASCAR and some of the other North American series have more races but they already use more than one team of mechanics and their travel is much more limited as most of the events take place within a few hours flying of the team bases.

Returning Canada to the World Championship is a sound idea given that there appears to be a demand for a race in Montreal and because it helps to save money for Indianapolis by sharing the costs of the two North American events but going beyond 17 races is not perhaps the wisest course of action at a time when F1 is trying to present itself as being in a cost-cutting mode.

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