F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the 2014 championship season will be capped at twenty Grands Prix.
The recent announcement of the return of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring means that at least one of the established venues will be dumped next year.
“We will drive 20 races, no more,” Ecclestone told Austria’s Kleine Zeitung newspaper, while also confirming that the Austrian Grand Prix had been agreed to for seven years, taking the race up to the 2021 season.
Next year’s provisional calendar includes new Grands Prix in Russia, as well as a second Grand Prix in the United States on the streets of New Jersey. The latter’s street race was meant to be a part of this year’s calendar, but it was dropped after funding and construction delays.
The Red Bull Ring – along with Istanbul, host of the defunct Turkish Grand Prix – had both shown interest in taking the calendar slot for the 2013 New Jersey race, but both deals fell through after initial discussions.
Currently there are 21 venues with contracts for the 2014 season, and with ongoing rumours that Thailand could also join the championship roster – although now no longer in the country’s capital, Bangkok – that means two existing venues would have to be shelved.
With New Jersey’s future still very much unknown, the likely event facing the axe will be the little-loved Korean Grand Prix, which has been a commercial flop since it debuted on the F1 calendar in 2010.