Terrible news about A1GP for British fans – Brands Hatch might be in the frame to lose its status as the host of the season finale, a privilege it has enjoyed for the last two years.
The May 1 event would still be slated to take place there – it just wouldn’t occupy the end-of-season slot any more if speculation kicked off by the FIA is on the mark, being rescheduled as the penultimate event.
Admittedly it would be making way for Brazil’s iconic Interlagos, which many will view as a net gain for the series. The change was suggested by the publication of the FIA’s 2009 International Series calendar last week.
But it would prove a huge disappointment to all those fans who have cheered on Team GBR at their home race for the last three years, including an occasion when they were duelling for second place in the championship.
The story stems from a bid to readjust the calendar in the face of a cancelled opening round at Mugello and a pencilled-in May 13 event revealed by the FIA as a consequence of this loss.
However, a delayed announcement may be connected to the fact that this isn’t the only piece of calendar-related uncertainty going on at A1GP Towers right now.
It has recently had to pull a second date – the upcoming Lippo Village event in Indonesia – after that circuit failed to complete its construction and get its FIA certification in time.
A1GP CEO Pete da Silva said of the cancellation: “Obviously it is extremely disappointing for all concerned and not the news any of us wanted.
“The bottom line is, for safety reasons, A1GP cannot race on a circuit that does not meet or has not received the necessary licence from the FIA, so we have no other option but to cancel all plans to bring the A1GP show to Indonesia in three weeks’ timeâ€.
The series will now go from next week’s event in Taupo, New Zealand, to February’s in Gauteng, South Africa. Organisers said they did not plan to run the Indonesian event at a later date in the current season four, but may consider an event in next year’s season five.
And in news that shows exactly where the world’s priorities lie when it comes to the choice between music and motorsport, A1GP has asked for FIA approval to move its Mexico City event back a week to make way for a Radiohead concert.
Pete da Silva made the best of this one: “We are delighted it is still possible to race in Mexico City as this has always proved to be a popular and exciting race weekend for our fans, so because of this we were happy to support this request.”
The series has never yet been to Brazil, although it was scheduled to appear during its 2006/06 season, at a point when Nelson A Piquet was driving for the national team. A race was due to take place in Curitiba in January 2006 but was cancelled.