The Formula 1 calendar is often a moveable feast at this time of year as the pushing and shoving phase is completed. Normally, one of the solid dates is Monaco but a few years ago negotiation finally broke the tradition of the event being tied to the Ascension Day holiday (a Thursday). This was a blow for the pirates of Monaco, who have long justified charging seven-night minimums in hotels because there was practice on the Thursday. This schedule however remained unchanged as the F1 teams like to use the weekend for smooching potential sponsors. The 2010 Monaco Grand Prix was scheduled for May 23 but the teams complained that this was too close to the date given to Turkey (May 30) which in turn was deemed to be impractical for Canada as all the equipment needed to be shipped back from Istanbul and then sent out to Canada. Thus it seems Monaco has been moved back to the weekend of May 16, which puts it back in line with Ascension Day.
The bizarre thing in all of this is that everyone wants to be in Monaco but no-one to be in Istanbul and yet it is the Monaco race that had to move…
While the future of the British Grand Prix remains in the balance at the moment with much doubt being cast on Donington Park. Silverstone is reportedly baulking at hosting the event because starting the process at this late stage will almost certainly result in the event making a loss and the British Racing Drivers’ Club wants a longer term deal to make it worth their while.
The fact that Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has stepped into the help the organisers of the German GP at Hockenheim by sharing the risks of hosting the event in order to make sure that Germany stays on the calendar is likely to be the source of some pain for him. Ecclestone said that Hockenheim was “something special” and that F1 had been going there a long time. There is no doubt that the British will not be slow to point out that F1 has been visiting Silverstone for a lot longer than it has been going to Hockenheim and one can imagine similar remarks from Spa-Francorchamps and indeed from France.
Belgium is also struggling but still has an F1 contract. The local press there reports that the race this year made a loss of around $1.2m and there are suggestions that the Walloon government is looking into the possibility of alternating the Belgian Grand Prix with a race at the Nurburgring from 2012 onwards.