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F1 shuts out North America for 2009
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North America will be absent from next year's Formula One world championship after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from a revised calendar issued by the sport's governing body yesterday.

No reason was given by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) but the race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a favorite with teams and sponsors, had previously been paired with the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis that was axed this year.

The 18-race calendar, issued after a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Paris, reinserted a three-week summer break for teams by moving the Turkish Grand Prix from August to fill Canada's slot on June 7.

Instead of a planned record-equaling 19 rounds, the championship will continue with 18.

The Belgian GP moved forward from September to August 30, the weekend after the European GP in Valencia. The Italian GP retreated a week to take Belgium's original September 13 date.

All other dates remained the same as on the provisional calendar released in June, with Australia kicking off the season on March 29 and Abu Dhabi making its debut as the championship finale on November 15.

The FIA also announced that its President Max Mosley had been given the authority to negotiate with the Formula One Teams Association for the introduction of "radical measures to achieve a substantial cut in costs in the championship from 2010".

Marco Piccinini, the FIA deputy president for sport who represented the body at this year's Monaco GP after Mosley was caught in a sex scandal, will stand down a year ahead of time.

Mosley, who won a vote of confidence in April to stay in office, has said he will stand down in October next year when his term expires.

Meanwhile, Ferrari will use the "lollipop" to tell drivers when to leave the pits in Sunday's Japanese GP after its traffic light system caused chaos in Singapore.

Felipe Massa, battling with championship leader Lewis Hamilton for the title, had his race in the city-state ruined when he drove from the pits with the fuel hose still attached after a mechanic made the light go green by mistake.

Ferrari's light system usually works automatically when the fuel hose is removed from the car, but in Singapore it was in manual mode.

"In this moment we need tranquillity and therefore we prefer to go back to the old system," team boss Stefano Domenicali said in Milan.

Other teams still use the lollipop, which a team member holds in front of a driver before the pit stop is completed.

McLaren's Hamilton leads Brazilian Massa by seven points with three races left. The final GP is in Brazil on November 2.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily October 8, 2008)

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