From time to time, calendar alterations happen pre-season, but rarely do they ever amount to significant changes.
However, when the Superleague Formula released a revised 2011 schedule on Friday afternoon, I could scarcely believe I was looking at the same series sheet that I posted following Christmas.
This year’s championship – which was originally due to begin on April 16th at Monza, has now been pushed back to a May 28th start at Estoril. That is only only one of a raft of changes.
From the original calendar Monza (Italy), Portimao (Portugal), Nurburgring (Germany), Ordos and Beijing (both China) have departed, only to be provisionally replaced by Estoril (Portugal), Magny Cours (France), Smolensk Ring (Russia) and Curitiba (Brazil).
A further race in Brazil is to be confirmed for the middle of October, while dates in the Middle East and New Zealand are pencilled in for November.
There are painfully few circuits in New Zealand that may have the appropriate license to hold a Superleague Formula race, while the provisional “Middle East” round currently occupies that same dates as Formula 1’s third visit to Abu Dhabi – no doubt, that too will eventually change.
September’s single round in China is also marked down as “tbc“.
Should Superleague’s Russian event take place, it will be the début race for an international single-seater championship in the country, pipping Formula 1 by at least three years.
The Smolensk Ring, built in 2009 for a potential MotoGP race, sits 77 km outside of Moscow and held its first FIA Truck Racing event last year. It currently holds a category 2 circuit license. A video of a GTR 33 lapping the Russian circuit is at the tail of this post.
As Superleague enters its fourth season, the scale of these changes are worrying indeed. Rarely do such mammoth alterations happen to a racing calendar, especially when the original green flag is five weeks away.
Stranger still is Superleague’s lack of reference to the dropped dates. In fact, their news reports site no reference to any lost events at all. It raises a quick question. Who did the dropping – Superleague or the circuits and why so close to the start of the season?
Provisional 2011 Superleague Formula schedule: Date Venue 28-29 May Estoril 4-5 June Assen 2-3 July Navarra 9-10 July Magny-Cours 16-17 July Zolder 6-7 August Donington Park 10-11 September Smolensk Ring 24-25 September China (tbc) 8-9 October Curitiba 15-16 October Brazil (tbc) 12-13 November Middle East (tbc) 26-27 November New Zealand (tbc)