It appears that the 2013 Formula 1 schedule, which was supposedly set at 19 races, isn’t so set after all.
Word was that the schedule would stay at 19 races after an attempt to fill the vacant July 21 slot, which was left open for an unnamed European race, fell through. Initially Turkey was the favored venue for that weekend, but when race officials there couldn’t get the state funding needed to host the event that idea was scrapped. FIA boss Bernie Ecclestone had said that no other venues were in the running to fill the date and if the Turkish Grand Prix didn’t happen the date would stay open and the schedule would hold at 19 races.
However, now it is being circulated that a race at Portugal’s Algarve circuit is a possibility and that France may be in the running to host a race as well.
The Portuguese track is located near Portimao and has previously hosted F1 tests and GP2 Series events. Drivers had high praise for the course following the test runs there in 2008 and 2009.
Ecclestone seems to still believe that a 20th race won’t happen in the 2013 season, citing that the teams are not really pushing for it which hurts the organization process. However, he did add that, “If someone wants to have the 20th race, it will happen, if the track is there and okay”.
That is pretty much par for the course as far as comments from Ecclestone go. Bernie will keep making cryptic comments until a deal is in the bag and they are ready to throw a race onto the schedule in that open weekend. Since the schedule really would not have to be adjusted to accommodate a 20th race the final decision may still be a month or more away.
Be it 19 or 20 races long, the 2013 Formula 1 season will be a blast to watch. It is the last year for the V8 engines and with the multitude of driver moves in the offseason there will be a lot of great competition on the track. I’m ready for some racing.