Belgium and France could make a return to the FIA World Touring Car Championship next year, according to the latest speculation doing the rounds.
However, their return is set to spell the end of the traditional rounds in Italy and Portugal, with series organisers looking to cap the number of European rounds at half a dozen.
The provisional 2014 calendar is set to be revealed later this week, but the latest gossip suggests that Paul Ricard will make its debut on the championship’s calendar as the season-opener, replacing the slot that Monza has enjoyed for the last two seasons.
The high-speed circuit has been a fixture on the FIA WTCC calendar, but dwindling attendance figures have spelt the event’s demise.
The other circuit rumoured to be making a comeback is Spa-Francorchamps. The iconic circuit hosted a round of the WTCC in the series’ inaugural season in 2005. But at 7 kilometres long, the track would be the longest on the calendar and would stage a pair of nine-lap races under the current rules limited races to a maximum of 60km apiece.
The Formula 1 circuit will effectively serve as the replacement for the Race of Portugal, which was scheduled to have its 2014 race at the wonderful Algarva circuit in Portimão as part of its bi-annual deal with Porto. But the circuit is having major financial issues and it’s highly to make an appearance on the first draft for 2014.
In all, twelve venues look set to be confirmed for the 2014 season, which will kick off in April and finish at the traditional Grand Prix of Macau. The schedule is likely to look like: Paul Ricard (France), Marrakech (Morocco), Slovakiaring (Slovakia), Hungaroring(Hungary), Salzburgring (Austria), Moscow Raceway (Russia), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Termas de Río Hondo (Argentina), Sonoma (USA), Suzuka (Japan), Shanghai (China) and Macau (SAR of China).