Another month, another Formula 1 calendar for the incoming season. On June 3 the FIA World Motor Sport Council issued a press release with the 2012 calendar being top of the agenda.
A list of 21 dates appeared beneath the phrase: "The 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar is confirmed as follows," yet no sooner had this column pointed out that the 2010-2012 Concorde Agreement (the sport's tripartite covenant signed by its governing body, Commercial Rights Holder and all 12 teams) allowed for just 20 races in any one season during its duration, than FIA president Jean Todt told the media that there would be just 20 races.
"We don't know which one will go, but the championship will be 20 races," he said.
Then, at the end of July, during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, a 20-race 'discussion' calendar was circulated among the teams, a schedule that omitted the Turkish round. While it was a vast improvement over what went before, it packed the event into a spree of seven flyways on four continents over just 10 weeks at the season's end. Even worse (to many), was that it included the contentious Bahrain event in November in order to grant the Middle Eastern Kingdom maximum time to solve its political issues.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken