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[LONDON] The Korean Formula One Grand Prix has been formally dropped from the 2015 calendar after its surprise inclusion last month for contractual reasons.
A revised 20-race calendar, starting in Australia on March 15, appeared on the governing International Automobile Federation's website (www.fia.com).
An FIA spokesman confirmed the race had been removed because it was not viable.
That came as no shock, with the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone telling reporters in December that the local South Korean promoters did not want to hold the May 3 race but he had to include it for legal reasons. "We have a contract with Korea. We have to put it on the calendar," he said then. "If we hadn't have done they could have sued us. We let them off for a year on the understanding they would be back." The race, first hosted at the southern Yeongam circuit in 2010, did not take place last year.
The decision to axe it again from what would have been a record 21-race list leaves a three week gap between Bahrain on April 19 and Spain on May 10.
Some Formula One teams had seen the decision to include the Korean race as simply a means of allowing teams to have five engines per car this season and avoid a planned reduction to four.
The wording of the regulations had stipulated that the teams could have five engines if the calendar "as originally scheduled" had more than 20 races.
That move was subsequently rendered unnecessary by a decision to allow limited in-season development for the existing engine manufacturers, although McLaren's new partners Honda will not benefit from it.