Talking to Autosport, Bernie Ecclestone said that Portugal's new Algarve circuit was in contention to fill the missing July slot on this year's calendar, while admitting that the calendar would probably stand at 19 races this year. The F1 boss also told the magazine that the calendar would not grow beyond twenty races. “Twenty [is] the maximum amount," he said.
Assuming that Sochi and New Jersey make their debuts in 2014 as planned, and that rumoured races in Mexico, Thailand, and Long Beach all come to fruition, it hardly takes an expert to spot that some of the existing races are going to have to go.
North Korea are currently threatening war on South Korea, trying to prevent their neighbour from joining in with tightened UN sanctions against the country, which this week said they would be testing nuclear weapons capable of attacking the United States. To say that tensions are somewhat high is putting things mildly.
Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the protests continue. Some concessions have been made by the government - the lifting of martial law, and the introduction of minor reforms - but these have largely been seen as palliative measures by the protesters.
The government last week invited the opposition for talks, and while six groups will be represented there are concerns that the government will once again 'moderate' the talks, and not participate in them, as has been the case in previous cross-party discussions.
Part of the ongoing problem in Bahrain is that the government is itself divided on the position it should take. There are internal schisms between the hard-line prime minister and the crown prince, who heads a faction more willing to reform the country's political structure. It is worth noting that Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa is the world's longest-serving prime minister, and not a man known for his free-wheeling approach to change.
The current political situations in North Korea and Bahrain would not necessarily lead to race contracts not being renegotiated in Yeongam and Sakhir, but they are worth keeping in mind. The progression of events could have a long-term effect on either grand prix.
And then there's Europe to consider. Barcelona has a contract to host a grand prix, and circuit officials have spoken of their desire to renew upon expiry, with circuit boss Vincente Aguilera saying in December that plans to alternate with Valencia were off the table, and that he hoped to extend the Circuit de Catalunya's F1 contract to 2020.
But Spain's not in the greatest shape financially, and Aguilera's desires may come to naught should the financial situation worsen further still. Complicating matters further, the Catalan parliament yesterday effectively confirmed that they would be holding a referendum on independence for the region. Depending on the results of that referendum, Aguilera could find himself in a completely different political and financial climate when the time comes to renew.
Spa's long-term financial troubles are well-documented, and the beloved circuit is constantly at risk of falling off the calendar. The will-they-won't-they over this year's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring means that an annual race in Germany is by no means guaranteed, although Hockenheim still has a contract to host the race on alternate years. Hockenheim circuit officials have been very clear in their statements saying that they can not afford to take the event on full time.
New Jersey itself is by no means certain. Not only has the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy led to a massive redirection of funds, construction workers, and the like - F1 is an understandably low priority right now - but the cause of the initial postponement may lead to longer delays, or to no race at all. The amount of work needed to soil and roads in an occupied area could make the grand prix a no-go. The costs of doing such work are obscene to begin with, and protests from residents about the disruption to their lives could see the project off for good.