Grand Prix racing's widening horizons

With an ever-increasing number of countries seemingly pushing for grands prix, the shape of the Formula 1 calendar could be set for quite a radical shake-up in the years ahead

Grand Prix racing's widening horizons

Races in Russia and China have been mooted for some time, with 2004 slated for potential inaugural races, but it is understood that new events in Turkey and Bahrain are likely to become fixtures on the calendar first.

Eventually the schedule will have an even more intercontinental shape and that is causing mixed feeling in the F1 paddock.

"You always consider the economic impact of a new race first," said a leading F1 team boss. "A flyaway race will cost between $500,000 and $1 million more, so immediately the cost of your programme goes up.

"If you go back over the past decade, there has been a significant swing towards flyaway races and the immediate reaction is that it costs you more. But, on the upside, you get a stronger world championship that can possibly generate more money. Also, F1 tends to get better facilities because there are strict criteria laid down for new circuits, which means an improvement to F1."

With teams reluctant to see an increase in the current 17-race calendar, new events inevitably mean that current races will be under pressure to maintain their places on the calendar. Sadly for the purists, Spa is regularly touted as a potential casualty, with Imola and a German race also mentioned. Italy and Germany currently has two races, a situation that could become untenable.

Against that, however, both Nurburgring and Hockenheim have both made substantial recent circuit alterations and are unlikely to have done so without relatively long-term guarantees in place.

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