The notional Korean Grand Prix has been dropped from the 2015 Formula 1 Championship calendar, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has confirmed. The 2015 season will run for twenty races – starting in Australia in March and ending in Abu Dhabi in November – up from the nineteen in 2014 thanks to the return of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The little-loved Grand Prix in Korea was a surprise last-minute addition to an updated 2015 calendar after a meeting of the WMSC last month. The Yeongyam venue – which held four Grands Prix between 2010 and 2013 – had its event slated for a May 3 date as a fifth race in the opening run of ‘flyaway’ races, one week prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, the opening race of the European leg of the season.
Doubts were immediately raised as to whether the event would ever occur, and this week’s confirmation proves them true.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claimed that the race was added onto the updated calendar for “legal reasons”, but that organisers “would rather it not happen”.
“We have a contract with Korea… we have to put it on the calendar. If we hadn’t have done they could have sued us,” he said. “We let them off for a year on the understanding they would be back [in 2015].”
The latest stories suggest that the Korean government is going to give Formula 1 another crack and is seeking approval to stage a street circuit race in its capital, Seoul – potentially a far more lucrative option than the $70 million white elephant in Yeongyam.
2015 Formula 1 Championship Calendar (Final):
|15 March||Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|29 March||Malaysian Grand Prix||Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur|
|12 April||Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai|
|19 April||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir|
|10 May||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona|
|24 May||Monaco Grand Prix||Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo|
|07 June||Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|21 June||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg|
|05 July||British Grand Prix||Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone|
|19 July||German Grand Prix||Nürburgring, Nürburg|
|26 July||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Budapest|
|23 August||Belgian Grand Prix||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot|
|06 September||Italian Grand Prix||Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Milan|
|20 September||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore|
|27 September||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka|
|11 October||Russian Grand Prix||Sochi Autodrom, Sochi|
|25 October||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|01 November||Mexican Grand Prix||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City|
|15 November||Brazilian Grand Prix||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo|
|29 November||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi|
Image via XPB Images