The FIA has been juggling with the 2013 F1 calendar and, as yet, not all the balls have made their allotted space. The demise (or delay, for the optimists) of the New Jersey GP has left a gap in the schedule, and Bernie wants to fill it. The German Grand Prix has been shunted forwards to 7th of July, in order to make space for an as-yet unconfirmed European event on the 21st of that month. The change means that the German event will now be run on the weekend that was scheduled to house the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
For the uninitiated, the Festival is one of the most popular motor sports events of the year, and is usually attended by many of the F1 teams. It is an opportunity to get up close to drivers and cars from all eras, current and historic. Lord March, who is the events originator, has opted to change the dates of his event to accommodate the FIA. A rather abrupt message appears on the Goodwood website:
“Due to the FIA unexpectedly announcing a further change to the 2013 F1 calendar, Goodwood will now have to change the Festival’s date in order to avoid this conflict with the amended Grand Prix.”
So, where is this extra race to be held? France has been mentioned in connection with a return to the calendar but it would appear that there is little to no chance of that happening. The contenders are, it would seem, Istanbul Park, Turkey, which is apparently ‘up to the government’ and the Red Bull Ring, the current, recently revamped incarnation of the old classic Austrian Grand Prix circuit, last seen as the A1 Ring a few weeks ago. While the Turkish circuit is one of the better of the modern tracks attendance is poor, and it may be that Austria will draw bigger crowds to the picturesque track.
In other news on the F1 front, Williams has confirmed that the much-hyped Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna as Pastor Maldonado’s team-mate for 2013. The Finn is a very promising talent and has shown well in Friday sessions this year. Charles Pic has made the jump from Marussia to Caterham, most likely alongside Vitaly Petrov. Esteban Gutierrez is to replace Sergio Perez at Sauber, with Kamui Kobayashi ousted, and HRT is no more. The only remaining questions are over the identity of Paul di Resta’s team-mate at Force India – look for Adrian Sutil to fill that one, despite doubts from some ‘in the know’ – and Romain Grosjean is yet to be confirmed at Lotus. The Frenchman is likely to be retained, despite some notable talent – in the form of Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen – being on the market.