Expanded Calendar Unlikely, Says Mosley

China and Bahrain will host Formula One races next year but the calendar is unlikely to go beyond 17 races, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley said today.

Expanded Calendar Unlikely, Says Mosley

China and Bahrain will host Formula One races next year but the calendar is unlikely to go beyond 17 races, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley said today.

"I think both Bahrain and China will take place," he said at the Monaco Grand Prix. "But I would be surprised if there are more than 17 races. We are now waiting for a proposal from Bernie (Ecclestone).

"We could have 18 or 19 races - under the Formula One Commission if they agree we can go up to 20 races - but even if the organisers agree the Formula One commission still needs more than half the teams to agree."

The two countries are building new circuits to make their Formula One debuts next year, although doubts have been expressed in the media since the war in Iraq and recent emergence of the SARS virus in China.

Canada, the next venue on this year's calendar after Monaco, has also been hit by SARS in Toronto but Mosley expected Montreal to be unaffected.

"At the moment it's not a problem," he said. "But if it becomes a problem we will have to look at it."

Austria has already been told that this year's race was their last while Belgium was dropped from the 2003 Championship due to a row over tobacco advertising laws. Belgium has since had general elections and Mosley noted that the Greens, who championed the anti-tobacco legislation, had lost many of their seats.

"If Belgium solved the tobacco problem they would obviously have a strong case because it is a circuit that we all like. But it's not for me to say," he added.

Formula One's commercial supremo Ecclestone draws up the calendar which in theory can be up to 20 races if the FIA's Formula One commission agrees. Mosley felt that was not likely.

"Even if all the organisers agree, it still requires more than half of the teams to do so and it's difficult to get the teams to agree because every race costs them money," he said.

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