FIA president Jean Todt 'sorry' for 2016 Formula 1/Le Mans clash

FIA president Jean Todt has apologised for the scheduling clash that puts next year's Le Mans 24 Hours up against Formula 1's first grand prix in Azerbaijan

FIA president Jean Todt 'sorry' for 2016 Formula 1/Le Mans clash

The FIA initially approved a calendar in mid-July that had been drawn up by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, with Le Mans unaffected on its June 18-19 date, and with the European Grand Prix in Baku handed a July 17 slot.

But with Ecclestone forced to reinstate the four-week summer gap between GPs over August the F1 teams demanded, a reshuffle was necessary.

In the latest F1 calendar issued in late September, the race in Baku had switched to June 19, so going head to head with Le Mans.

It means Force India's Nico Hulkenberg will not now be able to defend the LMP1 honours he won with Porsche team-mates Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber last year.

JUNE 2015: F1's Le Mans interest sparked by Hulkenberg win

The only compensation Todt has been able to provide is the conclusion to each race will be at different times, with a three-hour time difference between Le Mans and Baku playing a part.

"Organising the calendar is a very tricky job because you have 21 races in Formula 1, 10 races in Formula E, 10 races in World Endurance and 14 [world championship] rallies," said Todt.

"To make one calendar without any conflict is not possible.

"But for Le Mans, I'm quite confident. The start [of the grand prix] will be at midday and Le Mans will finish at 3pm.

"Maybe for one or two drivers it does not allow them to do it.

"I'm sorry to say we cannot do better."

Should there be any last-minute tweaks to the F1 calendar, they will be announced after the final World Motor Sport Council meeting of the year in early December.

Porsche has said it will not finalise a replacement for Hulkenberg in its line-up until the F1 calendar is set in stone.

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