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Formula One calendar reduced to 19 races as three venues are axed

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

By Ian Parkes

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

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The 2014 Formula One motor racing calendar has been slashed by three races due to problems surrounding venues in New Jersey, Mexico and South Korea, the International Automobile Federation has confirmed.

From an initial record-breaking schedule of 22 races when the provisional calendar was issued in late September, there will now be 19, following official confirmation of the programme by the World Motor Sport Council after a meeting in Paris.

The news will come as a relief to the 11 Formula One teams as even the likes of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described the prospect of 22 grands prix as "beyond the limit".

In particular, the teams were threatened with an unprecedented triple-header of races at the end of May into early June, with Monaco, New Jersey and Canada all back-to-back.

The suspicion, however, was that due to ongoing financial issues the Grand Prix of America would again fall by the wayside, and so it has proven.

The race, along the banks of the Hudson River and with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, was slated for its debut this year, only to be withdrawn due to the financing problems. Although Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone came to the aid of promoter Leo Hindery Jnr, and a 15-year contract was signed in June, for the second successive season the event has had to be shelved.

Claiming the race has been cancelled again "for lots and lots and lots of reasons", Ecclestone has not given up hope, telling the Wall Street Journal: "What we're aiming for is 2015."

Mexico was due to end a 22-year exile from the calendar. but the redevelopment of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is to take longer than expected. Sergio Perez, recently axed by McLaren after a year with the team but set to be confirmed as a Force India driver later this month, has confirmed that the organisers "ran out of time".

The 23-year-old from Guadalajara said: "In a way, I was expecting it, so I'm not that disappointed. I believe 2015 can really happen. We are a lot closer now than we were a couple of months ago, so I have big hopes 2015 will be the time when Mexico happens."

As for South Korea, the organisers have long faced financial difficulties since the race was first staged in 2010, and it is understood that they attempted a second renegotiation of their contract.

Although Ecclestone acceded to their initial request two years ago, the 83-year-old has failed to reach a renewed agreement this time.

Aside from the removal of three grands prix, Ecclestone and the WMSC have made a couple of minor tweaks from the provisional calendar.

Japan and the new race in Russia have switched dates, with the latter now October 12 rather than October 5.

The United States and Brazilian Grands Prix are again back to back on November 2 and 9 respectively but the honour of the year's final race goes to Abu Dhabi, with a date of November 23.

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