Doha Meeting Springs Some Surprises

Heading into today’s World Motorsport Council meeting in Qatar, all talk centred around double points and standing restarts, yet yesterday evenings main headlines have been dominated by some surprise notices. Perhaps the most surprising of all storylines is that the Korean Grand Prix has reappeared, taking a spot on the provisional 2015 calender and on a date which could cause some headaches. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen could have etched his name into the history books for good – It was certainly a seismic day for F1 news.

Yeongam Korean Grand Prix October 2012
By calflier001 [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A Recording Breaking Calender…

The provisional 20 race calender was an ambitious proposition to begin with – Bernie Ecclestone has previously suggested that 20 would be the maximum number of rounds, on the basis of logistics. However, with demand for spaces on the calender as high as ever, the headline news which emerged from Doha yesterday was that the Korean Grand Prix would be retuning to the calender after a year’s absenteeism.
Ultimately, the headline came as a massive surprise to almost everyone. Talk of the Indian Grand Prix making a reappearance was rife when it was initially dropped this time last year, yet with speculation in regards to this thread falling quiet, the provisional 20 race schedule, (featuring the Mexico Grand Prix) looked set to be ratified by the WMSC. However 20 has become 21 and in uncharacteristic circumstances, a secret was kept as just that.
The return of the Korean Grand Prix is intriguing for a number of reasons. Not only has it emerged out of the blue, but a race which has failed to attract the audiences which Ecclestone desires has reappeared after just a year away- so what has changed? Other than the date on the calender, it is difficult to see what. It was suggested that the landscape around Yeongam would be vastly altered as part of a development plan when the venue initally appeared and this could be a first step towards remounting the road towards this end goal. It is certainly an exciting prospect.
One issue surrounding the race is its scheduling. I imagine that it will lead to logistical headaches for all the teams, with it placement on May 3th meaning that it will be a back-to-back event with the Spanish Grand Prix. In terms of development programmes, teams may be forced to alter their usual schedules, as the typical three week hiatus prior to the European season will now be disrupted by a fifth fly-away in succession – not-to-mention the logistical nightmare that will be travelling from Mokpo to Barcelona in a week. Regardless, it is another race and another weekend of entertainment in 2015.

The Youngest EVER

Another piece of news which slithered under the radar yesterday will certainly have caught young Max Verstappen’s attention. After criticisms have been made in regards to the simplicity of the super-licence process, the WMSC have clamped down on youngsters entering the F1 scene, placing an age restriction on qualification – in short, anyone under the age of 18 will not be able to obtain a super-licence from next season. Fortunately for family Vertsappen, Max has already earned his and as such, he has dodged the new regulation.
Not only that, but the news suggests that Max Vertsappen’s name could be etched into the history books forever. If this age restriction becomes a cornerstone of the super-licence process, (and it is difficult to see it ever coming under scrutiny), Vertsappen will be the youngest F1 driver ever, forever, as a 17-year-old débutante. Entering the fray with a record already established is certainly pleasing, particularly when it seems as though it will be entrenched.



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