The World Motor Sport Council has confirmed that the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on June 18-19 following a meeting in Mexico City earlier this week.
As part of an extensive statement that confirmed the provisional calendar for the 2016 Formula 1 season, the 2015/2016 FIA Formula E calendar and changes to the regulations in F1, the WMSC confirmed the date of the twice-around-the-clock classic.
Once again, Le Mans will not clash with any F1 grands prix, thus opening up the possibility for drivers to race in both series just as 2015 winner Nico Hulkenberg did.
However, those in F1 with hopes of a shot at the Triple Crown of Motorsport – the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 – will be left disappointed for once again Monaco and Indy clash.
Last month, we considered whether it would be possible to see the likes of Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel racing at the Brickyard in 2016 should the 500 be held on one of F1’s ‘off’ weekends.
Both Alonso and Vettel hinted that it is a race they would like to take part in, but it appears that both will be left disappointed for 2016 – although it would have been a long shot regardless – as both Monaco and Indy are slated for May 29.
However, F1 does appear to have taken a leaf out of IndyCar’s book with a more condensed schedule for the 2016 season.
Although it may not be squeezing 16 rounds into just five months, introducing more back-to-back events is only set to put a greater strain on the personnel in the paddock.
IndyCar has learned its lesson for 2016, and will not be running another five month season again. F1’s long-term plan appears to point towards a calendar that could feature as many as 23 races, though.
The thinking looks a bit like this: if the paddock can handle a 19 race season that runs from March to November, and it can also handle a 21 race season running from April to November, surely it could manage 23 races from March to November?
It’s food for thought. Regardless, here’s how next May and June are shaping up following the WMSC’s calendar announcements.
May 1 – Russian Grand Prix
May 14 – Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 15 – Spanish Grand Prix
May 21 – Berlin ePrix
May 22 – Indianapolis 500 qualifying
May 29 – 100th Indianapolis 500/Monaco Grand Prix
June 4/5 – Dual in Detroit/Moscow ePrix
June 12 – Canadian Grand Prix
June 18-19 – 24 Hours of Le Mans
June 26 – British Grand Prix
Also set to take place in May and June: FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa, plus additional IndyCar events.