News Round-up: Pre Japan

News Round-up: Pre Japan

Spyker - 2007 Australian Grand PrixFormula One has certainly been in the news over the past couple of weeks, and while it hasn’t always been for the better of the sport, I’m pleased to say that a few little nuggets of joy have managed to hit the headlines since the Belgian Grand Prix. India is set to host a race in 2010, Spyker have new owners, the 2009 calendar has been revised a little and Honda have a new motor which debuted at the Jerez test last week.

2010 Indian Grand Prix

For a few years now Bernie Ecclestone has been trying his hardest to secure an Indian Grand Prix for Formula One. With the racing calendar moving into new, unchartered territory and markets, India was sure to be given the green light sooner or later. But various obstacles kept getting in the way, not least of which was a suitable site and circuit for race.

However, Bernie has managed to negotiate a draft contract with the Indian Olympic Association and it now appears that the F1 circus will be heading to New Dehli in a couple of years. Two sites have been proposed and famed circuit designer Hermann Tilke has inspected both, deeming them okay for the construction of a track. The first site is positioned in Dehli’s south-west in an industrial area called Sohna. The second is in a fast-developing zone to the capital’s east.

I met Mr. Ecclestone in London last week and I’m happy to say he told me it is a good report and that they have selected two sites for the F1 track. He also handed over to me the two draft contracts, for race promotion of the Grand Prix of India in the F1 world championship and the circuit rights agreement.

I’m happy to say the first race has been finalised for the year 2010. We’ll be signing the contract for 2010. The month is not finalised but it could be March, the first race, or after the Bahrain Grand Prix. IOA President, Suresh Kalmadi.


And remaining with India for just a little longer, Spyker have new owners in the form of a partnership between Michiel Mol and Vijay Mallya. Mallaya is a businessman hailing from India, and currently has various companies under his control including the UB group which deals with beer, spirits and airlines operations in the country.

Spyker sold the team primarily due to the parent company forecasting a loss for this year. Spyker produce two-seater sports cars that retail at around the €250k mark. The F1 operation only added to the loss and so it was decided to rid the team from its books. The team was sold for $123m, improving its value from $106.6m when it was purchased from Midland in 2006.

Amendments To 2008 Calendar

Formula One’s governing body has made some changes to the proposed 2008 racing calendar, originally published a couple of months ago. The changes only affect the Belgian and Italian events, and the Chinese and Japanese races. Essentially they have each swapped places.

1. March 16th Australia Albert Park
2. March 23rd Malaysia Sepang
3. April 6th Bahrain Sakhir
4. April 27th Spain Catalunya
5. May 11th Turkey Istanbul Park
6. May 25th Monaco Monte Carlo
7. June 8th Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
8. June 22nd France Magny Cours
9. July 6th Great Britain Silverstone
10. July 20th Germany Hockenheim
11. August 3rd Hungary Hungaroring
12. August 24th Europe Valencia
13. September 7th Belgium Spa Francorchamps
14. September 14th Italy Monza
15. September 28th Singapore Singapore
16. October 12th Japan Fuji
17. October 19th China Shanghai
18. November 2nd Brazil Interlagos

All circuits listed are unofficial. The FIA have not stipulated which circuits the races will run, and while most of them are fairly obvious, some are not. An official announcement will be posted when the FIA release the full calendar.

Honda Have A New Car

Having been out-raced by their sister team Super Aguri in last years car, Honda have finally debuted a new car that should hopefully see the rest of the season out and give them a better start for 2008. The Japanese team have had a miserable season, with Jenson Button picking up only a couple of points. The 2006 car, on the other hand, has collected four points at the control of Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri team.

The revamped Honda has been downplayed by the team, but it should enable the team to better understand the issues they are having with the RA107. Both Button and Barrichello tested the updated model in Jerez last week and while the expectations from the squad are so far true, the team feel a little more buoyed over working with a more consistent car.

It’s really just understanding a different way of working with aerodynamics. We’re not expecting it to be any quicker. It might be more consistent and balance-wise it might be better, but you can’t expect the team to turn the team around that quickly. All of the work is going into next year and, in a way, I’m quite surprised that extra work is going into this season. Jenson Button.

It’s not a focus about finishing on a high but about testing concepts that will take us in the right direction. Concepts that we will have on the car next year and is a good correlation with the tunnel work and the track. We will compare the old bodywork but we want to do as much mileage as possible with the new aero kit to check that the new sensitivities we’ve measured are like we’ve seen in the tunnel. Jacky Eeckelaert.

According to some reports, Super Aguri might be designing their own chassis for next year. You can’t blame them though, who would want the 2007 Honda after it has been proved to be hopeless?

Formula One, F1, Indian Grand Prix, Spyker, Honda


  • I see that Formula 1 are planning a night race in Singapore and a street race in Valencia. I think it’s great that F1 is opening up to more people.

    I’m not a hardcore fan but like the idea of making F1 more accessible, would love to know what other people think to this.

  • Hey Peterk, welcome to BlogF1.

    I also believe Formula One should be more accessible. Things like lowering ticket prices, simplifying some of the rules and removing any ambiguity in them, going to new circuits, but keeping the old as well. F1 also needs to be marketed a whole lot better. They really should embrace new technologies and allow video clips online. Alas, the FIA and FOM are controlled by old decrepit men who think that F1 is still the old boys club.

    One day, if F1 survives, it will move into the 21st Century and improve in many of the areas that make it look old and beaten to new fans.

  • Hey Oliver

    I’ve always felt that F1 is quite closed to alot of people it’s very complicated in it’s nature and some might say a bit elitist.

    Do you think there is potential it making it simpler to understand and experience and as a result broaden the audience? How do you think this could be reflected in the marketing?

  • Well, obviously running a Formula One website, I would like to see more online features. I mentioned previously about video footage. Essentially, FOM own the video rights to F1, and Bernie won’t allow clips to be shown, legally. I would like to able to view whole races online. Watching them live, and also be able to view certain parts again. With the technology available, it would be possible to choose which driver you follow and which views you like – I guess it’s a bit like watching replays in computer racing games.

    Aside from a few online improvements, the rules need simplifying. Keith from F1Fanatic posted today about the grooved tyres. They were introduced in 1998 to control cornering speeds, but now F1 has just one tyre supplier, cornering speeds can be controlled by changing the compound supplied to the teams. So why the grooved tyres still? This is just one example that could be improved. The FIA need to remove ambiguity from the rules. Scandal doesn’t help F1, and grey areas only promotes the bending of the regulations, which can lead to punishment and penalties, and most unfavourable in my eyes, the changing of results after the event.

    Marketing a sport is really difficult, and honestly I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I guess the most important people in the sport are the fans, so listening to us might help. The annual survey is a bit of a joke. We all say that Suzuka is one of the best circuits for racing, and then the FIA take it off the calendar. It is things like that I find terribly irritating about the way the sport is run.

    Anyway, before I continue ranting, and to answer your question: Yes, I believe that simplifying the rules and thus improving the experience for more people will of course broaden the audience. And the more people watching and enjoying Formula One is better for everyone.

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