SEPTEMBER 18, 1995

Expect an F1 calendar this week

THE FIA World Motor Sport Council meets in Paris tomorrow to go through the normal business of running motor sport.

THE FIA World Motor Sport Council meets in Paris tomorrow to go through the normal business of running motor sport. Not much is expected to come from the meeting that is likely to impact Formula 1 racing, as the recent F1 Commission meeting at Monza failed to make any major concrete proposals to the World Council. There is always the possibility that voting has been done by fax, but we have heard no word of any decisions.

The most important thing to come out of the meeting will probably therefore be the draft F1 calendar for 1996. This has been leaked in various forms in recent weeks, and has featured 18 races despite the fact that the F1 teams are refusing to do more than 16.

We hear that the Pacific GP at Aida and the Austrian GP - which were both in the leaked calendars - will not take place. The Austrian local government has refused to invest the money necessary to upgrade the Osterreichring and its access roads. The authorities at Aida want their race to continue but F1 is not keen to go there.

One race which was missing from the draft calendars was a United States GP, which had been expected to take place in LasÊVegas on November 10, 1996, the Veterans Day weekend.

It had been thought that the inclusion of Indonesia was a lever to get the Americans to act, but we hear that the Indonesian project is very serious indeed. The Sentul circuit has been finished for three years and is partly-owned by racing driver Hutomo MP, son of the country's ruler General Raden Suharto and chairman of the Indonesian national sporting authority - which is known as Ikatan Motor Indonesia. We understand that the circuit was also built by a company owned by another member of the Suharto Family.

Sentul is due south of Jakarta, near the town of Bogor. It hosted a Formula Brabham race in 1993 and has the necessary clearance from the FIA for F1 racing.

There is one other possible suprise in the works for the F1 calendar. Last week, France's Minister of Youth and Sport Guy Drut surprised the F1 world by saying that France will be bidding for two races in 1996: the usual French GP at Magny-Cours and a European GP at Paul Ricard later in the year.

France has not hosted a European GP since the idea was revived in 1983. In that time there have been five European GPs: three in Britain, one in Germany (there will be another shortly) and one in Spain. The French, however, did enjoy a Swiss GP at Dijon in 1982 and are not thought likely to win a European race as Monaco is usually considered to be France's second Grand Prix every year.