It's been a subtle but profound shift in strategy on the part of F1's commercial rights holder, Formula One Management: where the six grands prix (Bahrain, China, Turkey, Valencia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi) added to the calendar between 2004 and '09 were all government-backed, the latest half-dozen (India, Texas, Austria, Russia and New Jersey) - with the arguable exception of Russia's race - have all been privately funded, with possible public subsidies being applied retrospectively.
True, the events in Spielberg (Austria), Sochi (Russia) and New Jersey (USA) have yet to be confirmed, but in all instances their promoters are adamant the events will be staged in 2014, to the extent that the first-named pair started marketing activities around dates they claim to have been granted by FOM - despite no draft calendar having (as yet) been lodged with the FIA's World Motorsport Council, F1's ultimate authority.
The state-supported trend is widely believed to have been instigated by Malaysia in 1999 - not coincidentally within a year of Bernie Ecclestone and his family acquiring control of F1's commercial rights, initially for 13 years before being extended by the FIA for a full century at no additional cost.
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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