Bernie debunks 20 races in 2013
UP AND DOWN: Bernie Ecclestone said 19 races were expected for 2013, even though space has been made for 20.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
LONDON, England - Formula 1 looks likely to have 19 races in 2013 despite organisers tweaking the calendar to create space for a 20th round in Europe.
Commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, 82, speaking to Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper, poured cold water on suggestions that the country's GP could be reinstated after a 10-year absence to take the vacant July 21 slot.
ALL ABOUT MONEY
"Really? Who says that? Until now I have not talked about this with anybody," Ecclestone said of speculation that a race could be held at Spielberg's revamped Red Bull-owned circuit, formerly the A1 Ring.
Ecclestone said he had not spoken to Red Bull's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz for some time and there had been no approach by the Austrian energy drink company whose team has won the F1 title for the past three years.
He added that the lack of hotels in that part of rural Austria remained a problem.
"At the moment I am thinking more about Turkey and a return to Istanbul," said Ecclestone, although he recognised those efforts might come to nothing.
The Turkish race was removed from the 2012 calendar because of disagreements over the hosting fees; money has again proved a problem in talks to have the circuit reinstated.
Turkey's motorsport federation has said some government funding would be required but the country's sports minister ruled that out a week earlier and said it was entirely a matter for the private sector.
Ecclestone added: "I think we will have only 19 GP's in 2013. That would not be a big problem for F1." There were a record 20 races in 2012.
The vacancy was created by the postponement to 2014 of a planned street race in New Jersey against a backdrop of the New York skyline.
Uncertainty over the calendar has been irksome with MotoGP's governing body and the organisers of the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain each changing their dates to accommodate F1's latest calendar revision to avoid a clash.
The German MotoGP at the Sachsenring and Goodwood, a hugely popular event on the British motorsport calendar, were scheduled for July 7 - a date now filled by the German GP which was moved forward to create a space for a July 21 race that may not happen.