So, the 2014 calendar has been announced, 22 races, 6 engines per driver. That will mean a distance of 350,000 for the season, the most ever to my estimation. And if there is zero engine failures (unlikely in my opinion) each engines useable life will be at about 2,700km, a rise on the present 2,100 at present. Id recon that some engines will do about 3,000km in the V6T era. The Calendar will include the returning Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the Mexican GP in Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and the new American GP in New Jersey and new Russian GP in Sochi.
The Red Bull Ring is presently undergoing construction works in order to have a new grandstand across from the pit lane and other construction works around the track in order to raise the track capacity from 40,000 to a estimated 85,000. The Red Bull Ring track has just undergone a massive improvement plan in the last 4 years and is up to spec, only minimal improvements will be needed. However a hard Austrian Winter will halt the works for 3 months at least, but the track will be completed once a good bundle of money and man power is thrown at it.
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has undergone its pre construction and planning walk by Charlie Whiting and Herman Tilke, the works are quite extensive, a new pit lane for one, and a lot of track modifications in order to get the track ready, the estimated budget is €100m+, €35m of which will be in a pit building alone. They have around 14 months, I think this can be done in this time.
As for New Jersey, this track has the most work to do, the pit lane is half built, and can be completed quite quickly, however there is a lot of permits and warrants that are needed from land owners that the track will pass over. There are some key services that need shifting as well in a few areas. The grandstands will always be temporary. This race could happen, its just how much money and manpower that is thrown at it, and how disruptive a North Eastern Seaboard winter can be to the works that need completed. This may be tough to call, a bit of a close call like Korea 2010 where it was right to the last minute, as the paving of the track with new asphalt is needed.
The Russian track at Sochi is coming along really well, the Pit facilities are almost complete and also the track is coming along to a decent standard. However, the 2014 winter Olympics still need to take place in order for the final detail pieces to be put into place. This race will happen, and the track will be completed. There’s more than money riding on this race.
If I was to say there may be one race that is omitted from the event list it will be Korea, as the customs to the country is a killer, taking up to 3 days to clear for some teams and also the 6 hour drive from Soul to Yeongam is a bit of a passion killer for the teams and media, especially when the nearest towns are an hours drive away from the track.
More interestingly in the FIA press release, there is provision that the FIA could set up single suppliers in more than the present of tyres. This may mean a standardised and homologated fuel for all. In 2010 there was supposed to be a new ‘high density’ fuel that has more energy and make the engines more fuel efficient, Virgin was caught out and Nick Wirth had to manufacture 3 new chassis for the team. I think this is a threat across the teams that costs need to be reduced now. Pirelli have all but been confirmed by the FIA to continue into 2014.
There has also been a confirmation from FOM that GP2 team Russian Time are going to run a GP3 programme replacing GP3 team Bamboo engineering in 2014. This is great news as the team are expanding on where iSport left off, and the fact they can make the team run on a €5m budget for 2013 and run for both Teams and drivers title with Sam Bird is encouraging. This will mean that Russian Time will need a budget of about €12m for all GP2 and GP3 running in 2014 to my estimates. There is musings that Russian Time are looking at a F1 entry in 2015 or more probably 2016. I find this highly doubtful, as the teams Modus Operandi has always been about providing drivers a way into F1. Time (or is that Russian Time) will tell.
The 2014 F1 calendar:
|16 March||Grand Prix of Australia|
|30 March||Grand Prix of Malaysia|
|06 April||Grand Prix of Bahrain|
|20 April||Grand Prix of China|
|27 April||Grand Prix of Korea (provisional)|
|11 May||Grand Prix of Spain|
|25 May||Grand Prix of Monaco|
|01 June||Grand Prix of America, New Jersey (provisional*)|
|08 June||Grand Prix of Canada|
|22 June||Grand Prix of Austria|
|06 July||Grand Prix of Great Britain|
|20 July||Grand Prix of Germany (Hockenheim)|
|27 July||Grand Prix of Hungary|
|24 August||Grand Prix of Belgium|
|07 September||Grand Prix of Italy|
|21 September||Grand Prix of Singapore|
|05 October||Grand Prix of Russia (Sochi)|
|12 October||Grand Prix of Japan|
|26 October||Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi|
|09 November||Grand Prix of USA (Austin)|
|16 November||Grand Prix of Mexico (provisional*)|
|30 November||Grand Prix of Brazil|
* Subject to the circuit approval