The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi is set to host its first Formula One grand prix next year after motorsport’s governing body published a provisional calendar including a record 22 races.
The calendar will not be finalized until December but there is little reason to expect Sochi’s race on Oct. 5 to be scrapped.
New Jersey and Mexico — which last hosted a race in 1992 — have been included as provisional venues. If approved, New Jersey would be on June 1 and Mexico the penultimate race on Nov. 16.
The previous record number of races is 20, with 19 this year, and teams have expressed reluctance about the demands so many races would entail.
The calendar was released by the FIA on Friday following a World Motorsport Council meeting in Croatia, with the Australian GP in Melbourne starting the season on March 16, followed by the Malaysian GP on March 30 and the Bahrain GP on April 6.
Listed after the Chinese GP, the Korean GP on April 27 is the third race marked down as provisional, meaning it is subject to contract and track approval by the FIA.
There is growing interest in F1 of returning to Mexico with two Mexican drivers — Sergio Perez (McLaren) and newcomer Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) — racing in F1. The race is scheduled to be sandwiched between the United States GP in Austin on Nov. 9 and the season-ending Brazilian GP on Nov. 30.
New Jersey’s debut was initially meant to be this season — against a spectacular backdrop of the Manhattan skyline — but it was postponed to 2014 and then found itself increasingly under threat of going ahead due to financial concerns.
India has been dropped next year, as part of an expected switch to being an early season race in March 2015, and Red Bull fans will be thrilled to see Austria returning after an 11-year absence with a race at Spielberg on June 22.
By then, Sebatian Vettel could well be challenging for a fifth straight world title. The three-time defending champion has a huge lead with only six races left this season.