The F1 calendar in 2005

For the last few years the Formula 1 calendar has had much the same shape although the arrival of two new races in 2004 did mean that there had to be a considerable rethink and as a result the Brazilian GP was dropped to the end of the calendar to make way for the high-paying new races in China and Bahrain.

This year Europe lost the Austrian GP and next year it is anticipated that the San Marino GP will also disappear from the calendar. But next year we may also see a significant number of date changes with events which allow tobacco sponsorship being switched to the first part of the F1 season in order to take place before the European ban on tobacco sponsorship comes into effect at the end of July.

There are in fact only three races which will be affected by the new ban: Hungary, Belgium and Italy. With San Marino no longer taking place it could be that the Italian GP will be moved forward in the year and it is possible the F1 authorities will see fit to move Belgium and Budapest as well. This could mean that the non-tobacco races such as Britain and France would be moved back in the year, while the Turkish GP would come in August as a non-tobacco event.

It remains to be seen whether or not the teams will agree to do more than 16 races. If there is enough money being offered they will probably agree. If not other events will have to be axed and the European events are obviously in the firing line.

The current trend of F1 leaving Europe is likely to continue with only the major races such as Monaco, France, Germany, Britain and Italy likely to survive in the long-term as F1 looks to east. The pressure on the European races is set to continue with discussion of new races in India, Libya, Korea and Russia.

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