OCTOBER 13, 2005
Silverstone on the move?
The news in Shanghai is that the British Grand Prix is on the move from its traditional mid-July date. The problem has been caused by the decision that the United States Grand Prix be held on July 2 next year. This has had a number of knock-on effects, the most serious being that the French Grand Prix's plans to mark the centenary of Grand Prix racing have been ruined. The original Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France took place at Le Mans on June 26-27 1906. The US dates makes it impossible for the French to have either June 18 or July 9 and things have not been helped by the World Cup soccer competition in Germany. This runs from June 9 until July 9 and there are matches on June 18, June 25 and July 9. June 18 is best avoided by F1 as there are three first round World Cup matches which will grab the TV viewers from 3pm until 10.30pm. On June 25 there are two matches and on July 9 there is the World Cup Final, which would destroy any audience for F1. The obvious thing in the circumstances would be to move Indianapolis to another date but the Americans do not appear to wish to play ball, given what happened at Indianapolis this year.
If the Americans will not move then the only sensible thing is to have Canada on June 25, a week before the United States race, but it seems that the soccer will make this impossible. It makes little sense to ship everything to the United States for just one race and so the option is to keep the equipment in America and run the Canadian GP on July 16, which screws the traditional date for the British GP and means that costs will go up as teams are likely to fly staff back to Europe between races, rather than keeping them in expensive hotels for a 10-day period. This means that F1 costs are going to go up more and the French and British organisers will both be unhappy.
The knock-on effect of this is that the French GP could end up in April and British would have to be the third race in a triple-header with Monaco, Nurburgring and Silverstone on May 28, June 4 and June 11.
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