AUGUST 29, 2006

A calendar of sorts

The process by which the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is created is a complicated one, involving (officially at least) the FIA but largely down to the wheelings and dealings of Formula One Management. The calendar is rarely finalised before December - an odd arrangement compared to other sports but this does mean that there is more time for negotiation and so better deals for FOM. The calendar published this morning by the FIA does not say that the dates listed are provisional but one can assume that this is the case.

The other point of interest is that normally the dates are listed with the circuits involved and this has not happened. In most cases this is obvious but with Italy, Germany and Japan there is obviously room for discussion. The calendar lists 17 dates in more or less the positions one would expect to see them. What is odd is the very late start on March 18 and the month-long gap between the race in Bahrain and the event in Spain. There is obviously room for one or two more races. Suzuka, which appears to have lost the Japanese Grand Prix to Mount Fuji, is looking for a date at the beginning of the year and it makes a lot of sense for teams to agree to twin this with Australia, rather than having an absurd three week gap between Australia and Malaysia and then a rushed few days getting everything from Kuala Lumpur to Bahrain.

All this points to the published calendar being little more than a negotiating document, probably put out because someone was putting on pressure to have something official.

The calendar as published is as follows: March 18, Australia; April 8, Malaysia; April 15, Bahrain; May 13, Spain; May 27, Monaco; June 10, Canada; June 17, United States; July 1, France; July 8, United Kingdom; July 22, Germany; August 5, Hungary; August 26, Turkey; September 9, Italy; September 16, Belgium; September 30, China; October 7, Japan; October 21, Brazil.