Bernie Ecclestone’s plan to increase the F1 calendar to 21 races or more could be thwarted by the new engine regulations which come into force next year.
Along with the switch to 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines teams will only be able to use five engines per car per season. They are already concerned about the prospect of each engine doing four races and an additional round would mean one engine having to be used in five events.
According to Autosport one manufacturer has already contacted the FIA to warn about the problems posed by extending the calendar beyond 20 races.
There are 19 races on the calendar this year and even though India will be absent from next year’s schedule the number of events vying for a slot on the schedule may still mean it features more than 20 stops.
Austria is likely to have a round at the Red Bull Ring and Russia’s inaugural race in Sochi has been several years in the making.
A draft calendar which appeared over the Italian Grand Prix weekend also indicated a return to Mexico is planned.
The calendar did not include a space for New Jersey’s planned race, which was also on the 2013 schedule before being postponed. They may still have a chance to gain a place on the calendar, but concerns over engine life will make it even harder to achieve.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”