A revised Superleague Formula calendar was released late yesterday evening – containing no confirmed British round for the first time in four years and minus several other expected races.
The season, billed as the 2011 World Cup, is now set to visit China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and New Zealand. However, its only western European dates will be season-openers in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The announcement tears up a previous provisional calendar released in March this year that included dates at Navarra, Magny-Cours and at Donington Park – albeit with a disclaimer that the series reserved the right to modify or amend it in any manner it saw fit.
This had already superseded another version of the calendar, published in December 2010, which had the series visiting Monza, Portimao and the Nurburgring.
Last year, with regular venue Donington out of action, the series scheduled two UK dates at Silverstone and Brands Hatch instead. At time of writing the Donington Park event listing is still advertising a Superleague Formula event on August 6-7 – see the listing here.
Update (6/05/2011): The listing has now been updated to remove Superleague – a May 2 screengrab of the page is available here. Right click and view image for a closer look.
At the moment, no alternative Superleague event seems to have been scheduled for August. However, the newly-confirmed calendar is referred to in its accompanying news release as the full listing for 2011, perhaps dashing any hopes we might have that the Donington round could still go ahead.
Robin Webb, Superleague Formula Director of Competition, says of the schedule: “Superleague Formula is now set to become a fully-fledged global series, which has been high amongst our objectives even prior to our very first race.
“If someone had told me a year ago that we would be racing a World Cup on four continents then I would have found it hard to believe. It makes me immensely proud of the championship, its drivers, teams, sponsors and also those behind the scenes who have made this happen.
“It puts us in front of a huge global audience and gives us great foundations to build upon for 2012.”
However, the announcement has also caused consternation among fans who had already started to plan travel based on the provisional calendar.Some robust criticism of the series has recently appeared on its Facebook page here.
Complaints include disappointment over the lack of a British round, dissatisfaction over the expected venues being omitted and discontent at seemingly contradictory information.
The Facebook page offers apologies for the confusion and says: “While we don’t expect any more changes to the calendar this season, we must always operate as a business and make decisions that protect and enhance Superleague’s position and global status.
“Since the provisional calendar was released we received competitive interest from other cities and circuits for us to go and race there. It’s not easy to satisfy everybody!”
An administrator also says in a comment, when asked about the Donington round: “Let’s see on 2012!”
However, by then, Superleague may just find that it has disaffected those fans who were prepared to spend money on tickets and travel to watch its races first-hand.