Interest from France and Portugal for 2013says Ecclestone

Friday 25th January 2013, 08:56 by Ryan Wood 

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone says both France and Portugal have expressed an interest in hosting a race this season, which would fill the yet to be confirmed 20th slot.

Whilst Turkey had been Ecclestone's ideal option to host the tenth round of the 2013 championship, the government refused to finance the event.

Therefore it looked increasingly likely that the F1 circus would visit just 19 countries. However the 82-year-old told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper that France might be an option once again, whilst the Algarve circuit in Portugal has also expressed an interest.

Editor's Note: It's worth noting that a race in Portugal, particularly Portimao, is unlikely given their financial troubles. The teams are also keen on reducing the amount of races to 18.

"For the free slot, there is interest in France and now Portugal with the new Algarve circuit," he said, giving away few details.

On the topic of the German GP and where it might be held - Nurburg or Hockenheim - he admitted even he was in the dark.

"Frankly, I do not know," he added. "For the German race, the place is still open."

Despite the calendar uncertainty, Ecclestone is expecting an exciting season of racing, but expects more in 2014 when the regulation changes take affect.

"There is no reason why Sebastian [Vettel] should not achieve the same as Michael [Schumacher] and get another title.

"I expect much more Mercedes with Lewis [Hamilton] involved, and if Mercedes is good, also Nico [Rosberg] has a chance.

"One must also not exclude Jenson [Button] too, although I doubt that McLaren will be at the very front.

"It will be an exciting year. I think 2014 may be even more exciting," he concluded.

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