Superleague cancels its two South American rounds
By LJ Hutchins
Friday, September 16th, 2011
Superleague Formula, the football-themed series attempting to establish itself as motorsport’s new world championship, has cancelled its next two planned races.
The series has announced that its South American events, scheduled for mid-October, will no longer take place. The reasons given are overrunning track resurfacing work at Brazil’s Goiânia Circuit, and the knock-on effects on a planned second round in the region timetabled for a week later.
The series Competitions Director Robin Webb explained the cancellation as follows: “Unfortunately time has run out for us to commit to transporting the cars and equipment across the Atlantic.
“For a European-based operation it is simply too much of a risk to send everything there without being wholly confident Goiânia is ready to hold a race. It’s also unfair on our teams and drivers who have understandably been seeking our assurances on this matter.
“I know our colleagues in Brazil are as frustrated as I am but realistically there was no other satisfactory decision we could consider. I want to make it clear however that this has in no way affected the chances of hosting a race next season.”
The cancellations throw into sharp relief the difficulties of any spec series attempting to set up and run a World Championship-style event that genuinely takes in countries around the globe.
The last to try it was, of course, A1 Grand Prix – a project that lasted four years before the costs of transporting its cars around the world helped to bring it to its knees at the start of its fifth. It ended up with those cars impounded after it was unable to pay their freight costs.
It also faced occasional scheduling difficulties due to lack of preparation at circuits or clashes with other events.
In Formula One the transport costs are defrayed to individual teams rather than being borne by the series itself, and many races are paired on geographic grounds to help with logistics, as Superleague also attempts to do.
F1’s drawing power and established relationship with circuits also ensures it rarely suffers infrastructure problems – although it has taken a couple of years to get the Indian Grand Prix firmly on the calendar, and Bahrain’s 2011 race was moved due to political unrest.
Superleague’s calendar now show no confirmed events at all for this season. Races in China and Korea from the end of October through November are all marked ‘subject to contract and FIA approval’. A New Zealand event scheduled for mid-December is marked similarly, but lacks a venue after Taupo said it could not host it.
Two events took place earlier in the season, at Zolder and Assen, with the Alan Docking Racing-run Australia car driven by John Martin leading the championship.