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Korea dropped from 2015 F1 calendar

2015-01-07 08:13

WINNER IN KOREA: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the most recent F1 GP in Korea on his way to the championship. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - The South Korean Formula 1 GP has been formally dropped from the 2015 race calendar despite its surprise inclusion in December 2014 for contractual reasons.

A revised 20-race calendar, starting in Australia on March 15, has appeared on the governing International Automobile Federation's website. A spokesman confirmed “it was not viable”.

That came as no shock, with the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone telling reporters in December 2014 that the South Korean promoters did not want to hold the May 3 race but he had to include it for legal reasons.

THREE-WEEK GAP

"We have a contract with Korea," Ecclestone said. "We have to put it on the calendar. If we hadn't they could have sued us. We let them off for a year on the understanding they would be back."

The race, first hosted at the Yeongam circuit in 2010, did not take place in 2014. The decision to axe it again from what would have been a record 21-race list leaves a three-week gap between Bahrain on April 19 and Spain on May 10.

The most recent Korean GP was held in October 2012. It was won by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Some F1 teams had seen the decision to include the race simply as a way to allow teams to have five engines per car in 2015 and avoid a planned reduction to four.

The wording of the regulations had stipulated that the teams could have five engines if the calendar "as originally scheduled" had more than 20 races.

That move was subsequently rendered unnecessary by a decision to allow limited in-season development for the existing engine manufacturers, although McLaren's new engine partner Honda will not benefit from it.

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