Guest Author - Christine Blachford
The provisional 2009 calendar has been available for a few months now, but the World Council met this week to confirm it. They released the official calendar on Tuesday, and without explaining why, have dropped Canada from the line up.
The North American races have been subject to discussion since the US Grand Prix was dropped from the calendar. Teams have always been keen to return, as itís a key market for them, and the F1 spectacle is a good opportunity. However, with no US return imminent, itís speculated that the freight fees for getting to Canada couldnít be justified. If there were two races, perhaps, but going all that way for one is clearly not acceptable to the FIA.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Canadian GP said they werenít informed of this decision ahead of time, and had to learn of their fate through the media. They didnít want to comment until discussing the situation with the FIA and FOM, and meetings were due to take place. Many, many fans are disappointed with the decision, as Canada is one of the most popular races on the calendar. The track has suffered in recent years, and it was slightly embarrassing in 2008. The asphalt was supposed to have been resurfaced, and fixed so it wouldnít break up as much as it has in the past. However, the cars had barely started when things were already going on.
There must be a solution, though, and this is no reason to throw the event off the calendar completely. Whilst we wait to hear a decision, we are left thinking that it must just be to do with money. Either Canada werenít willing to pay the fees, or as I mentioned earlier, the FIA believed it to be too expensive a journey.
Itís possible that this could be a single year decision, and that Canada will return for 2010. Weíve seen tracks take a year out for redevelopment and return better than ever. The only problem here is that neither the organisers nor the fans know the reason for the decision, and therefore canít hold out any hope for the future. Once again, the FIA needs to start explaining what goes into making these important decisions and make their findings a little more transparent.
Other changes to the calendar include the Italian and Belgian races shuffling their weeks, and Turkey moving back up from August to June. This means teams get the summer break they have been lobbying for. This should please them, but Iím sure it will not make up for losing one of the most eventful races of recent years.