FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu believes that the decision to schedule the 2016 European Grand Prix on the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a “clear attack” on his series by Formula 1.
Since 2011, the FIA has strived to ensure that the Le Mans weekend does not clash with an F1 race, allowing Nico Hulkenberg to complete double duties with Force India and Porsche in 2015.
However, the provisional F1 calendar for 2016 has the revived European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan slated for June 19, clashing with Le Mans.
Although the FIA has stated that the grand prix in Baku will start following the conclusion of the 24 hour race, few have been impressed by the calendar clash – least of all, Neveu.
In an interview with Autosprint, Neveu said that he believes there is no coincidence about the move and that F1 is concerned about the size and growth of the WEC.
“It’s a clear attack on us and on this race,” Neveu said. “[Bernie] Ecclestone never does anything nonchalantly.
“It is a shame because by doing this you take away the possibility of having F1 stars entering what still is the most important race in the world. We could have had Hulkenberg and also other F1 drivers – motorsport fans are losing out.
“The FIA should have protected us better.”
Porsche has already confirmed that it will leave a space open for Hulkenberg until the 2016 F1 calendar is finalized in the hope that the race in Azerbaijan does change weekend.