The FIA has confirmed an 8 month calendar for next season’s F1 World Championship, with some refinements on the draft calendar circulating earlier this year.
The main talking points are the confirmation of Bahrain, which moves to the fourth round of the calendar, the dropping of Turkey and the inaugural Austin version of the US Grand Prix pairing up with Brazil at the end of the season.
Many F1 personnel I spoke to at the weekend in Spa had something of a heavy heart about the punishing sequence of back to backs at the start and end of the season, with Australia and Malaysia linked up, as well as China and Bahrain Japan and Korea paired up, then India and Abu Dhabi and finally the US and Brazil.
There’s another back to back with Germany and Hungary, as has become the norm in recent years.
There will be a test, likely to be at the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit in Italy on May 1st-3rd in the gap between Bahrain and Spain. This is a common sense solution, allowing teams some time to sort out any bugs and evaluate development parts for the European season.
The trade off for adding a test during the season is that there will be one less pre-season test, with three in Spain; Jerez (7-10 Feb), Barcelona 21-24 Feb & 1-4 March). There will also be a Young Guns test at the end of the season.
Teams producing a poor car out of the box will be under intense pressure with only 12 days of pre-season testing. Imagine the situation McLaren found itself in this year, needing to completely rework
its car with such limited test time!
2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar:
08/07 Great Britain
04/11 Abu Dhabi
18/11 United States