Teams Yet to Agree on Extended Calendar

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone still faces major hurdles in his hopes of putting on a 20-race calendar next year, with the sport's commercial boss yet to agree on the financial terms with the teams

Although Ecclestone is working intensively on sorting out the dates for next year's calendar, McLaren boss Ron Dennis revealed at Interlagos on Sunday that Ecclestone still has not got support from the teams about an expanded calendar.

Under the terms of the Concorde Agreement, financial terms are only laid down for a maximum 17 races per season. Any events beyond that means a compensation package has to be settled with the teams.

And although the teams reached agreement ahead of this year for 19 races - which was eventually resolved only after Ecclestone threatened to drop the French and British Grands Prix - Dennis has hinted they are not necessarily going to accept the situation as easily this time around.

"There is a 20-date calendar out at the moment," said Dennis. "The next two years we are racing under the Concorde Agreement and that only provides the teams to compete in 17 Grands Prix and there needs unanimous agreement for that to change.

"Will it change? Won't it change? We are not at a point yet where there has been serious dialogue. The commercial terms of the 18th and 19th races are different to the other races.

"We were induced into participating in those races. Perhaps that will happen again but there is no dialogue at this stage. Not that anyone is for or against it, there is just no dialogue."

Dennis added that there was some reluctance among the teams to keep extending the calendar, especially because of the fatigue that has been caused this season by the intense schedule.

"I think it (a 19-race schedule) changes the logistical requirement for a team and it is extremely intense for everyone," added Dennis. "It has required mechanics to stay away much longer and it sets up a different logistical challenge to rotate equipment between events."

And although one way of reducing the pressures caused by the number of back-to-back races this year would be to expand the length of the calendar, with perhaps the final races of the season taking place in November, Dennis has expressed some reluctance.

"I don't think anyone is keen to do that. We do have the (football) World Cup next year and we are always keen to try and engineer the calendar around other sporting activities so there might be some effort to accommodate in time for that, but that is Bernie's domain."

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