Ecclestone wants three extra Formula One races to create a bigger season from 2014

EXCLUSIVE

FORMULA One chief Bernie Ecclestone wants to push the sport’s season beyond its current 20-race limit, by adding three new events that could include an eye-catching street race through New Jersey.

The new F1 season, starting next week, only has 19 races confirmed, with Ecclestone admitting that a 20th race has not been found.

Yet he wants the teams to agree to an extended 22-race season to commence from 2014. Next year there is due to be a Grand Prix at Russia’s £32bn Olympic park in Sochi and Ecclestone is also in negotiation about hosting races in Mexico and Thailand.

“Having races in the right place is what matters,” Ecclestone told City A.M. “The teams could probably deal with 22 races.”

He added that South Africa, which last hosted an F1 race in 1993, would be his dream addition to the calendar. “If I had the choice I would like to go back to South Africa. I want to be in Cape Town. I have been offered Durban but I think we would be better off in Cape Town.”

Ecclestone also says he is willing on former champion Damon Hill’s son Josh to follow in his father’s footsteps and becomes the first ever third generation F1 driver.

Josh Hill will this year compete in the Formula Three European championship, a junior series two steps below F1.

The winner gets a test drive with Ferrari’s F1 team so victory would put him one step closer to repeating history. “I wish Damon’s son would get into F1. It would be super. It would be fantastic,” Ecclestone said.

With some new drivers being signed up to F1 because they bring the teams big pay cheques from their backers, Ecclestone hopes the future will be more meritocratic.

“Last year we had a year where it was a bit difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaff, so maybe this year we will see a bit more of the guys you thought were going to be good,” he said.

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April 22, 2014, 2:25pm