F1: Korea added to produce 21-race 2015 calendar

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Several key news elements have come out of the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Doha, Qatar today for Formula One.

First up for F1 is the addition of a 21st race to the calendar, which would set a new record for the all-time longest season in F1 history.

Korea, which fell off the calendar for 2014, has been reinstalled. While the track location is still to be confirmed, it is slotted in for May 3, the week before the Spanish Grand Prix.

Here’s the 2015 calendar then, as released.

The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar is confirmed as follows:

15 March       AUS   Grand Prix of Australia
29 March       MYS   Grand Prix of Malaysia
12 April       CHN   Grand Prix of China
19 April       BHR   Grand Prix of Bahrain
3 May          KOR   Grand Prix of Korea (TBC)
10 May         ESP   Grand Prix of Spain
24 May         MCO   Grand Prix of Monaco
7 June         CAN   Grand Prix of Canada
21 June        AUT   Grand Prix of Austria
5 July         GBR   Grand Prix of Great Britain
19 July        DEU   Grand Prix of Germany
26 July        HUN   Grand Prix of Hungary
23 August      BEL   Grand Prix of Belgium
6 September    ITA   Grand Prix of Italy
20 September   SGP   Grand Prix of Singapore
27 September   JPN   Grand Prix of Japan
11 October     RUS   Grand Prix of Russia (Sochi)
25 October     USA   Grand Prix of USA (Austin)
1 November     MEX   Grand Prix of Mexico
15 November    BRA   Grand Prix of Brazil
29 November    ARE   Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

 

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.