The FIA World Council will not meet for another three weeks but much work is going on to prepare the dossiers that will be reviewed by the Council members.
One of the items that is traditionally part of the June meeting is next year’s Formula 1 World Championship calendar, so it is no surprise that each year at this time there is some chatter about the dates for the following season.
We expect that there will be 20 races in 2014, with New Jersey and Russia being included in the calendar and Korea dropping out. There is some discussion going on over the question of testing, particularly as next year’s engines will be new. The word is that after last winter’s poor weather in Europe, some of the teams want to book a test in the Middle East in order to make sure they get hot-weather running before the start of the season.
This being the case, there is then a cost-saving argument about the first race as it makes little sense to ship all the equipment out for a test and then not use it to go racing. Thus there is believed to be a push going on to make Bahrain the first race of the year, and to move Australia back to the second slot on the calendar.
This has happened before, with Bahrain opening the season in 2006 and 2010. There are several counter arguments, not least that the first race of the year always attracts more attention and it's probably not sensible to push F1’s relationship with Bahrain into the spotlight.
It may, however, just be part of the negotiation process. The Australian GP has a contract that lasts until after the 2015 race, and there are talks over whether this deal should be extended to 2020, with an option to 2025. The Australian politicians, who pay for the race, want to keep costs down, while Bernie Ecclestone wants to keep them up. The stories may, therefore, just be part of the negotiating process…