Turkey axed as FIA release calendar for 2012
1 September, 2011
Sep.1 (Reuters) The Turkish Grand Prix was dropped from a revised 20-race 2012 Formula One calendar published by the sport’s governing body on Wednesday.
The Istanbul race, which was provisionally listed on a 21-race draft calendar issued in June, had been in jeopardy due to a disagreement over payments to the sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
While drawing one of the smallest crowds in Formula One, and lacking in atmosphere as a result, the modern anti-clockwise Istanbul Park circuit has become a driver favourite since its debut in 2005.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the definitive calendar had been ratified unanimously by a fax vote of its World Motor Sport Council, with several other important changes to the draft version.
The Bahrain Grand Prix, not held this year after controversial attempts to stage the race despite civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom, again loses its place as the season-opener to become the fourth round on April 22.
That was something of a surprise, with media speculation indicating that Bahrain was likely to be moved to the end of the year because of the uncertain political situation.
The season will open, as it did this year after Bahrain had to be postponed and then cancelled, with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18.
Malaysia, the second race, is moved forward to March 25 to become a back-to-back fixture with Australia.
China and Bahrain are also paired on back-to-back weekends.
South Korea, originally pencilled in for an April date, moves back to October to link up with Japan while the new U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas shifts from the heat of June to a cooler Nov. 18.
Austin will be followed immediately after by the season-ending race in Brazil on Nov. 25.
There will be no races in August, with only the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July overlapping with the London Olympic Games.