The fifth season of A1GP contains no date at Brands Hatch because the circuit’s owners were concerned about dwindling crowds and the series’ precarious finances.
The season calendar, released earlier this week, contained nine dates worldwide – but none in the UK despite the fact that Brands has hosted the series since 2005.
The circuit’s local newspaper, Kent Today, has spoken to its owner Jonathan Palmer, who explained that he was insufficiently confident about the series’ financial footing to schedule a date. However the Motorsport Vision boss said he hoped to see it return in the future.
Recent problems have seen A1GP Operations Ltd, the British arm of the series, put into administration and cars impounded by a freight company that is owned money.
Palmer told the paper: “At the moment it appears the championship does not have a safe financial footing and until it does, we will not be involved.
“Obviously we would love to hold the race, but only if we have some indication of the future of the series. It has been a great series and I hope it will come back to Brands Hatch in the future.”
He added that crowds for the event had been falling with “a significant drop” at May’s championship-deciding race despite a thrilling three-way battle for the title involving Team Ireland’s Adam Carroll.
Series boss Tony Teixeira has recently released a statement explaining how he has signed a three-year deal that will definitively secure A1GP’s future. He plans to meet with all creditors to settle outstanding bills.
But he included no specifics about his new partners. And all references to engine supplier Ferrari had been removed from the document, including its logo and the customary “Powered by Ferrari” mention. Rumours have recently surfaced that there has been a parting of the ways between the two organisations, but there has been no comment from either.
Could the British race yet return? Palmer has certainly left the door open and Teixeira has said the published calendar might yet be amended.
At the Donington event Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy broke Ayrton Senna’s 15-year-old lap record at the circuit while shaking down the 2008/09 season’s new car.
But, with Team GBR also going out of business, and no new franchisee currently announced to take it on, any talk of a British date must realistically be viewed as more in hope than expectation.