Reading Between The Lines
The final FIA World Motorsport Council meeting took place this week, and it has produced both calendar changes and amendments to the regulations for 2013.
First of all, the mid-year calendar has been reshuffled. The German Grand Prix, originally scheduled for July 14, has been brought forward a week to July 7. Another race has been added on July 21, although the venue is yet to be confirmed.
The WMC meeting was held in Istanbul: is it fanciful to suppose the ‘new’ Grand Prix will be staged at Istanbul Park? The circuit hosted F1® races from 2005 to 2011 before encountering financial difficulties and dropping off the calendar in 2012.
The WMC says the July 21 race will be another ‘European’ event. Strictly speaking, Istanbul Park is in Asia as it lies a fair distance to the east of the great city of Istanbul itself (one of the reasons why it has never been one of the best-attended races), but it has always been deemed ‘European’ for F1® purposes in the past.
Other possible candidates are France and Austria.
There hasn’t been a French GP since 2008 at Magny-Cours, but four-time World Champion Alain Prost was seen lobbying hard in Abu Dhabi this year and has always been a great advocate of a race in his home country. It was France, after all, that staged the first ‘Grand Prix’ way back in 1906.
Austria’s A1-Ring hasn’t graced the calendar since 2003 (*remember who won that one?) but has recently been refurbished and has a close connection to World Championship-winning sponsors Red Bull.
The additional race has been brought back to compensate for the postponement of the inaugural event in New Jersey, now expected to take place in 2014.
The re-jigged 2013 calendar once again has 20 Grands Prix as was the case in 2012, which was the longest season in F1® history. Click here to view the 2013 calendar in full.
*Surprise, surprise: the 2003 Austrian GP was won by Michael Schumacher for Ferrari
Rule Tweaks For 2013
As announced to the F1® press by Charlie Whiting in Austin, the FIA has brought in a couple of changes to the regulations for 2013. One affects the cars themselves, the other concerns the use of DRS systems.
Front wings and their flexibility have been a regular talking-point in recent seasons. Remember the Ferraris’ front wings not just moving, but visibly flapping, in practice during F1®’s first visit to India last year?
The FIA will introduce new, more stringent tests to the front and back of each side of the front wing, partly to prevent teams from using a rotating wing to help the cars’ aerodynamic efficiency.
Until now each race weekend has seen drivers free to use their DRS systems at any point on the race-track during free practice and qualifying.
From 2013 this is no longer allowed: drivers can open the DRS system only in the area(s) at each circuit where it is allowed in the race itself.