F1 2012 calendar: Turkey axed
LONDON, Aug 31 - The Turkish Grand Prix has bee dropped from a revised 20-race 2012 Formula 1 calendar published by the sport's governing body.
The Istanbul race, provisionally listed on a 21-race draft calendar issued in June, had been in jeopardy due to a disagreement over payments to the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
While drawing one of the smallest crowds in Formula 1 and lacking in atmosphere as a result, the modern anti-clockwise Istanbul Park circuit has become a driver favourite since its debut in 2005.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the definitive calendar had been ratified unanimously by a fax vote of its World Motor Sport Council, with several other important changes to the draft version.
The Bahrain Grand Prix, not held in 2011 following controversial attempts to stage the race despite civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom, again loses its place as the season-opener to become the fourth round on April 22.
The move is surprising with media speculation indicating that Bahrain was likely to be moved to the end of 2012 due to the unstable political situation.
The season will open, as it did in 2011 after Bahrain had to be postponed and then cancelled, with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 18.
Malaysia, the second race, is moved forward to March 25 to become a back-to-back fixture with Australia.
China and Bahrain are also paired on back-to-back weekends.
South Korea, originally pencilled in for an April date, moves back to October to link up with Japan while the new US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas shifts from the heat of June to a cooler Nov. 18.
Austin will be followed immediately after by the season-ending race in Brazil on Nov. 25.
There will be no Grands Prix in August, with only the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July overlapping with the London Olympic Games.
March 18 - Australia (Melbourne)
March 25 - Malaysia (Sepang)
April 15 - China (Shanghai)
April 22 - Bahrain
May 13 - Spain (Barcelona)
May 27 - Monaco
June 10 - Canada
June 24 - Europe (Valencia)
July 8 - Britain (Silverstone)
July 22 - Germany (Hockenheim)
July 29 - Hungary (Budapest)
Sept 2 - Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
Sept 9 - Italy (Monza)
Sept 23 - Singapore
Oct 7 - Japan (Suzuka)
Oct 14 - South Korea (Yeongam)
Oct 28 - India (New Delhi)
Nov 4 - Abu Dhabi
Nov 18 - US (Austin)
Nov 25 - Brazil (Sao Paulo)