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Bahrain in; Turkey gets the flick – FIA confirms 20 race F1 calendar for 2012
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Bahrain in; Turkey gets the flick – FIA confirms 20 race F1 calendar for 2012
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Aug 2011   |  6:25 pm GMT  |  156 comments

The FIA has confirmed an 8 month calendar for next season’s F1 World Championship, with some refinements on the draft calendar circulating earlier this year.

The main talking points are the confirmation of Bahrain, which moves to the fourth round of the calendar, the dropping of Turkey and the inaugural Austin version of the US Grand Prix pairing up with Brazil at the end of the season.

Many F1 personnel I spoke to at the weekend in Spa had something of a heavy heart about the punishing sequence of back to backs at the start and end of the season, with Australia and Malaysia linked up, as well as China and Bahrain Japan and Korea paired up, then India and Abu Dhabi and finally the US and Brazil.

There’s another back to back with Germany and Hungary, as has become the norm in recent years.

There will be a test, likely to be at the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit in Italy on May 1st-3rd in the gap between Bahrain and Spain. This is a common sense solution, allowing teams some time to sort out any bugs and evaluate development parts for the European season.

The trade off for adding a test during the season is that there will be one less pre-season test, with three in Spain; Jerez (7-10 Feb), Barcelona 21-24 Feb & 1-4 March). There will also be a Young Guns test at the end of the season.

Teams producing a poor car out of the box will be under intense pressure with only 12 days of pre-season testing. Imagine the situation McLaren found itself in this year, needing to completely rework
its car with such limited test time!

2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar:
18/03 Australia
25/03 Malaysia
15/04 China
22/04 Bahrain
13/05 Spain
27/05 Monaco
10/06 Canada
24/06 Europe
08/07 Great Britain
22/07 Germany
29/07 Hungary
02/09 Belgium
09/09 Italy
23/09 Singapore
07/10 Japan
14/10 Korea
28/10 India
04/11 Abu Dhabi
18/11 United States
25/11 Brazil

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156 Comments
  1. Casimir says:

    It is incredibly disappointing to see Turkey drop off the calender. Of all the circuits Tilke has designed, this one has produced the best races, perhaps with the exception of Malaysia.

    Now that Turkey has gone, is there any possibility of it returning to the calender, and which of the current circuits is next on the hit list, given Russian intentions to join? Please don’t say Belgium…

    1. Richard says:

      However good the design of the circuit is, it remains a big mistake to have ever introduced a Turkish GP. The has never been any significant local interest in F1; what’s the point in racing in front of empty grandstands?

      1. Casimir says:

        I’m not going to argue your point concerning economics, which is entirely valid.

        I’m simply expressing my disappointment that one of the more unique and enjoyable grand prix has been lost.

      2. DonSimón says:

        Not only that, but the Turkish state has some work to do on human rights issues and the last couple of weeks have proven that the beef with the PKK isn’t even close to being sorted.
        Personally I think F1 should take a much stronger view on these things, but I am pretty sure that will never happen.

      3. Peter says:

        Mr. DonSimon, if you are going to be talking about human rights, i think there are a host of other countries which do host F1 which has poor human rights and i would frankly see removed and Turkey kept.

      4. Borg says:

        Oh boy, can we let this human rights issue and F1 go please?

        Bernie is a salesman, not a Human Rights activist. F1 is a motorsport not U.N. If Bernie was looking after human rights all food would be free at a GP and all shelter would be provided at no charge.

        Actually – it’s an idea – think of the attendance improvements in Turkey!

      5. Ramshoek says:

        The Turkish GP is, in a sense, traded in for the Bahrein GP. Could you please explain the human rights argument to me?

    2. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Yep, totally agree. It’s a pity no one went to watch, eh?
      Now, let’s see……if only the circuit could be reproduced in a country where the population actually WANT to see an F1 race………..even just turn 8….

  2. Douglas says:

    Weird schedule! Putting Canada between Monaco and the European is bizarre. Do the FIA own a globe?
    Thought it would have been a greener option to run Canada, the US and Brazil one after the other – less transatlantic bouncing around / costs. I know they have to fly anyway, between those countries, but at least in the North American races some of the equipment could be shipped by road. The way it’s set up now, they have to use expensive aeroplanes. Teams’ feet will hardly have touched the ground before off they go again burning jet fuel.
    Revealing comments from Button recently about the strains of the travel, etc. Interesting times could be ahead with personal decisions being made at all levels of the sport. Is all this travel going to be worth it?

    1. James Allen says:

      Canada was in that place this year too..worked fine

      1. George says:

        Canada has been after Monaco for many years. Also, Having a race in Montreal in November would also require Pirelli to develop an F1 snow tire, just in case!

      2. Chris of Adelaide says:

        Im waiting for burnie to read this and start getting ideas.

      3. Tony says:

        F1 in the snow! I am all for that!

      4. DonSimón says:

        Petrov would be at a BIG advantage. I reckon Kimi would come back for that too!

      5. Chappers says:

        Ferrari really would have issue’s with tyre warm up in Canada in november

      6. Glenn says:

        I agree James, Canada hasn’t moved in years ;)

      7. Coefficient says:

        Indeed, Canada has uniquely occupied it’s position just to the north of the USA for some considerable time now.

      8. HFEVO2 says:

        Most years, including 2011, Canada has been run on the same weekend as LeMans.

        This works out really well as the time difference means that thousands of Brits at LeSarthe can see the finish of the best race in the world and, after a short rest, sit down in the camp site or a local bar to watch a little sprint event beamed across the Atlantic.

        Perfect !

    2. As others have mentioned, Canada is rather frosty that time of year, and snow is quite likely.

      That being said, unfortunately southern USA is very hot when Canada is pleasant, and Canada is freezing cold when southern USA is pleasant. If there was a northern, or Pacific USA GP, then it would be better to twin that one with Canada.

      Austin and Montreal could only really be twinned in May or October, when it isn’t too warm in Austin… but Canada could still be rather chilly at those times. You’d certainly want the US GP first if it was in May, or second, if in October, to take advantage of the climates. Still, it’s certainly not the optimal time to be planning a race in Montreal.

  3. Tom Webb says:

    Having the North American races separated seems like an odd choice to me. However a July or August US GP would be worse.

    1. As would a November Canadian GP! …unless Pirelli used their rally knowledge for studded F1 tires…

  4. PaulL says:

    Shame to lose the best racing circuit.

    Too many races.

    1. Coefficient says:

      Best circuit? Disagree!!!

      There are circuits no longer on the calendar that are better than Turkey such as Imola.

      Silverstone, Spa and Monza are the best circuits on the current calendar.

      1. Steve says:

        Imola’s a great circuit but has produced loads of dull F1 races!

      2. Martin says:

        I’ll add in addition to Steves’ reply, consider how few great dry track races Spa has produced before this year. Apart from 2000 with Schumacher and Hakkinen (which was really just one pass), it is hard to bring much to mind. Being a high speed aero dominated track it is hard for the drivers to overcome a car deficiency, and even with the length of the Kemmel straight it was difficult to overtake there or into the bus stop chicane.

        In 2008 we had the McLaren and Ferrari closely matched and it was tense, but Hamilton could do nothing until the rain came.

        In my mind Turkey had more areas where the driver can make a difference – the shorter corners at the begining and end of the lap and the different lines available at turn eight. Spa is spectacular for on the limit action, but great races are rarer in the dry in my opinion.

        Cheers,

        Martin

  5. goferet says:

    Good for me and my fellas are already looking forward to the 2012 season since 2011 is already down & dusted.

    After Turkey’s DRS fiasco, I guess we shall not miss it that much infact Todt & his rascals should have gone ahead & banned any track that has a fast corner leading up to the DRS zone such as Spa & Monza – They should think about the fans for once.

    Also happy to see Australia & Brazil will open & end the season respectively for those two are always fun tracks though Canada would have been a much more fitting season ender for that’s one race that never disappoints in terms of crashes & safety cars

    1. If you think Spa and Monza should be banned from F1, you should be banned from watching

      1. Coefficient says:

        Indeed!!

    2. Benson Jutton says:

      Hmm, Spa and Monza bad, crashes and safety cars good.

      No thanks

    3. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Ahh, dear Goferet, you really think Spa and Monza should go?
      Methinks you taking the proverbial pee…..

    4. Two things:

      1) Canada is covered in snow by the time the F1 season ends.

      2) It disappoints me that you seem to enjoy crashes.

    5. Randy Torres says:

      Goferet are you daft? Monza and Spa? Why not Monaco and Silverstone while we’re at it, you know, out with the old in with the new. So you like crashes and safety cars do you? I have one word for you: NASCAR. End the season in Montreal? Excellent idea I’m all for it. I love the cold weather! Formula 1 cars have no problems racing in the snow and ice right?

  6. andrew says:

    I generally like this 2012 race calendar, it’s a nice blend of old and new venues, alike. Logistics aside, I think it makes our storied and historic sport look quite progressive and egalitarian. Finally, we might be able to say Formula 1 is truly a world championship event.

    1. Chris of Adelaide says:

      Agreed, but we would need to see an event in Africa to 100% complete the “world” championship.

      1. Ralf F says:

        And in Latin-america.

      2. Ralf F says:

        Sorry I meant spanish-speaking latin america, we already have Brasil. Perhaps Mexico or Argentina…

      3. DonSimón says:

        Would love an African race. But where? SA is the obvious choice.

      4. Aaron95 says:

        The Antarctic race should be interesting. Between the studded ice tyres and drivers swerving around penguins.

      5. Galapago555 says:

        +1

        Would love to see a GP of South Africa again. And why not one on the North? There used to be a Morocco GP in the good’ol days.

      6. …and one in Algiers. I think there were quite a few pre-war North-African GPs back then.

      7. andrew says:

        You are correct and we used to have F1 in South Africa, but the politics in Africa are arguably quite difficult to negotiate today. Where can you safely conduct such an event on that continent?

      8. I think an F1 race would be just fine, considering everything went quite well for the World Cup.

      9. andrew says:

        The World Cup is an everymans access sort of sport, though. F1, for better or worse, carries an elite spectator kind of status which just doesn’t work in the dramatic haves versus the have nots types of states on the African continent, I think.

    2. Coefficient says:

      Well, the calendar is set up well for fans. I can’t get enough F1 even though I’ll be watching half the races highlighted on the BBC.

      The problem I will have is getting away with watching it all. I don’t watch football etc, just F1 so the wife doesn’t mind me spending every alternate (give or take) weekend watching the racng but now we have lots of back to backs in a season I could be getting a seriously bent ear!

      Let battle commence!!

      1. Benson Jutton says:

        What you need is a national broadcaster committed to bringing you only half the races and some poorly edited highlights: win win!

      2. Randy Torres says:

        LOL…or a divorce!

  7. ben says:

    Although the schedule is improving in terms of logistics and the cost cutting benefits by twinning races – I’ve never understood why Canada is bang in the middle of the European season. And even more so now.

    Can anyone shed any light on this for me?

    Glad the teams will now get at least some in-season testing. May be good for some younger drivers too if they get another opportunity to get some running time.

    1. Geno says:

      It would be difficult to run the USGP in June given the ridiculous temperatures in Austin at that time. It would be equally impossible to run in Montreal in October/November because it would be too cold to the point that snow would be a realistic possibility at that time of the year. Think this is the best that can be done.

    2. Joel says:

      I can give you a guess why Montreal is in the middle of the European season. Check the weather going back the last 20 years in Montreal. Races have to be from June to August in Montreal. August is the F1 break. That leaves June and July…

      I’d love if Montreal, Austin and Sao Paulo were back to back. Think about the travel possibilities!

    3. AJIndy says:

      The “new world” races are problematic. Montreal will be too cold in November. Brazil may be too hot. Moving Brazil to May will be an even longer trek back and forth to Europe…

    4. Let me put it this way… nine years ago a race of mine (at Mosport, Canada’s original GP circuit) was cancelled because there was 10 cm of snow on the ground. It was April 25th… few years after that, there was snow on the ground in the morning at Mosport on May 24th.

      Mosport and Montreal have similar weather.

      May and October are as close to summer as possible for Austin, and while it’s possible to have a race in those times in Canada, you are risking some pretty bad weather. It’s not a risk that F1 would like to take.

  8. John says:

    It’s a shame about Turkey – a lovely circuit, badly marketed and perhaps badly located

  9. goferet says:

    And oh the teams should stop moaning about a packed calendar. They won’t get any sympathy from me.

    They should just get on with it for we need to see action whenever we want [mod]

    All is fair in F1 and war

    1. Sm39m4 says:

      It’s true. Montreal in November is unthinkable. There’s a 50/50 chance that it snows by Halloween and that the snow remains.

      1. …but I hear Pirelli makes a wicked snow tire. ;-)

  10. Nelson says:

    Yeah… I won’t be watching these next year. I’m still seriously annoyed at the BBC for torpedoing Channel 4′s attempt to buy the UK F1 rights. Ok so it probably would have been presented by a T4 reject who makes Ortis Deley look like Des Lynam and C4 most likely would have had adverts running through it like ITV did but AT LEAST WE WOULD SEE ALL THE RACES LIVE.

    1. Christopher Mason says:

      +1

    2. Benson Jutton says:

      +1

      1. Coefficient says:

        +1

    3. Edward Valentine says:

      plus one

    4. Richard says:

      +1
      The whole situation is a disgrace.

      James, you haven’t really commented very much about the deal. I realise that you might be positioning yourself for any vacancies there may be, but it would be interesting to know your point of view and any other info you might have about it.

    5. J Humphreys says:

      +1

  11. Tim. says:

    James,

    is there any way Bernie can change this or this firm now?

    1. James Allen says:

      Can change if something happens a la Bahrain, but no, otherwise it’s set

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        In Bahrain a 14-year-old boy died after being hit by a police tear gas canister today. Demonstrations even if they’re small-scale ones are regular. The GrandPrix will push protesters out to raise international awareness.

        The rulers have a firmer grip on the situation now which Bahrainis paid with a heavy price but the resentment is there & you can’t predict what will happen.

        Calm or Not, if the Bahrain GrandPrix occurs, it will leave a bitter taste to all those who participate.

  12. Tim Parry says:

    A shame about Turkey, one of the best Tilke circuits around. But what can you do when the spectators dress as empty seats.

  13. Mitchel says:

    Well it’s disappointing to see Turkey go. I went in 2010 and it was brilliant, who cares if not that many people attend? It’s a brilliant track which always produces fantastic races….to me F1 does not require a football crowd atmosphere, and it was busy enough in my grandstand.

    Bahrain, Valencia, Spain, Abu Daibi and Hungary have all produced some very dull races in the past. But then again, I don’t even like Monaco (apart from this year).

    1. Stuart says:

      No but they need people to turn up to pay to watch.

  14. Roberto says:

    It´s a shame that a circuit with one of the best corners have been drop off. It was always entertaining between the last corners, but it´s true that it never got the attendance needed. Hope that Austin delivers on the promises of the circuit, lookng forward to the climb like was in Austria.

  15. jonrob says:

    So why is Bahrain back in? Do Bernie and the FIA think we have all forgotten what is going on there?

    One other thing we all need to know James is which races the BBC deign to show us fully covered out of the list above. Are thay alternating? Or 1st half BBC rest sky? or just ad hoc? or maybe Europe BBC, trans oceanic sky?

    No I don’t expect you to know off hand James but you are well placed to find out.

    If the season starts off with the first three on the BBC then a few of us may stay fans for a bit longer. No one is going to watch Bahrain, or at least no one with a conscience.

    What next Bernie, North Korea?

    1. James Allen says:

      Monaco, Silverstone and Brazil for sure, but Sky get the next picks so the other seven will be what they will be.

      1. Nando says:

        Do they have to pick before the season starts?

      2. Snowy says:

        James, it’s off the original topic but I’ve seen nothing written about it anywhere – What will be the situation next year in countries (like Australia) which take the BBC feed? Will we get the same mix of BBC and Sky broadcasts? Will some be live and some delayed?
        There’s been a lot written about how it will work in the UK and also on how the BBC feed is ‘on-sold’ due to its high standard but there’s been nothing about the flow-on effects of the new arrangement. Thanks.

      3. James Allen says:

        It’s up to the overseas network to decide which commentary to buy from FOM. BBC will do an as live commentary for highlights edit purposes, I would imagine.

      4. I think I read that Brundle and Coulthard would be commenting all the races abd that only the rest of the team headed by Jake Humphrey would be doing half of the season.

      5. Stefarno says:

        Hungary is during the Olympics, imagine the BBC would gladly let Sky show that one!

      6. Stuart says:

        How about Australia? Is the first race of the year not going to be on the Beeb?

      7. Brisbane Bill says:

        Hmmm, that’s going to be interesting. Would Sky want to burn up one of their choices on a time slot that will have fewer live viewers than other races? So, perhaps, the BBC might be “granted” that one. However, it could just as easily be a highlights package (also due to the time slot) for the BBC and they may similarly not want to burn up an option for it. Yet, it is the first round and (hooray) sense has prevailed and it is Australia so has some prestige and high interest but my tip will be (on a cost basis) that the Beeb forgoe this round.

  16. Bevan says:

    Damn,they drop one of the best Tilke circuits for the worst.”Yawn”.

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      Actually, you might argue that they have dropped Turkey for Austin and that could prove to be one of the best. Time will tell. But what about when India come on and, as has already been mentioned, Russia muscle in on a round? What else can be dropped? Yup, looks like Spa might be on borrowed time.

  17. Darren says:

    I like Australia being the first race of the season.

    The pressure will really be on to get the cars right in the development stage – something Red Bull have excelled at in recent years and McLaren and Ferrari haven’t…

  18. Steve_muzzy says:

    August looks a busy month, will be glad to fork out my £60 to sky hd that month…..

    However overall a good mix of great races and reasons to sleep on the couch on sunday :-)

  19. herp says:

    Vettel and RBR will be champion around Japan again anyway like this season, so why have so many races after that :P

  20. eric weinraub says:

    Money talks ‘Bahrain’ and BS ‘Turkey’ walks….Were there not US bases in Bahrain we’d be talking about War crimes, dictators, and the lot…. So, it looks like a crazy schedule and I don’t envy the travelling schedule and distances for personel on the race teams.

    1. Pirelli Circus says:

      USA is commiting war crimes too as we speak, as reported by Amnesty Int. UNICEF, etc, so then you must support banning the USA GP too for next season.

  21. jonas says:

    Sometimes, less is more … I love F1, its been part of my life for so long but to be honest 20 races is too much. It devalues the single event. I would never have missed even the most (potentially) boring race of the year for anything in the past (Barcelona, Hungary) but these days I wouldn’t really care if for some reason I had to miss a race in the first three quarters of the season …

    1. Alex W says:

      I think Bahrain and Valencia should be non championship GP’s, optional, and may let reseves have a run.

      1. I’d love to see some non-championship F1 races revived… allow customer chassis, older cars, etc… attempt to equate the V10s and V8s… put up big prize-money to make it attractive to those who have the cars…

        But, the FIA will never let it happen, nor will FOM. Even Ferrari would probably be strongly opposed. If those three are all on one side, you’d be hard pressed to get anywhere.

  22. Adam Taylor says:

    I think the F1 folk have it easy compared to Moto GP. back to backs for Germany-USA (Laguna Seca), USA (Indy) – San Marino being the worst of 4 back to backs. All be it some would say less kit, but still a tough turn around

    1. I don’t think there’s the same amount of logistics between MotoGP and F1 to be honest.

      1. Adam Taylor says:

        Agreed, which i did point out, but its not just taking the kit from point A to point B, its also travelling and acclimatising to a different continent in a few days, and then being race ready on the friday, must be fairly challenging

  23. Svizzera says:

    Well as I will only be watching half of the races anyway, I don’t really care. Thanks again BBC for squashing the C4 deal- now nobody will even watch some of these races.

  24. Thomas says:

    Why oh why did they drop Turkey before Valencia?!? If they parked the cars on cost-saving grounds and played a nice hockey tournament instead of running the European gp it would still be more entertaining.

  25. Max Wright says:

    James,

    It would be great if you could produce a Calender for us who only have BBC TV and cannot watch Sky for whatever reason.

    It should be about half the length and will only take you a jiffy.

    Ps, are you aware of any plans to cut Wimbledon, the Archers in half and only show the highlights?

    1. Nando says:

      Won’t be long before Wimbledon coverage is share with Sky, they already share alot of commentators/pundits.

    2. Duncan Snowden says:

      :-) The BBC could show the men’s matches at Wimbledon, and let Sky cover the women’s. Or the second and final rounds of the Open golf, with Sky taking the first and third. Surely nobody could object? They’re bloody lucky to have had the whole thing for “free” up till now, after all…

    3. Benson Jutton says:

      Perhaps SKY could show a whole round, and BBC just show the teeing off and putting? On alternate holes of course.

      1. Edward Valentine says:

        ha ha yeah and for the 100 mtr final in the Olympic Games perhaps the BBC might broadcast live the first 25 mtr with the next 75 mtr being shown as edited highlights 2 hours later.

        Broadcasting sports highlights (or dropping the coverage) is a great way of selling more cookery and antique shows

  26. quetric says:

    Here’s an idea: since there are already two seasons’ worth of circuits (or there will be very soon with the US and Russian GPs coming into play), why not have two completely disjoint sets of calendars and run one in odd years and the other in even years. Split the classics among them, keep Monaco as the only GP to happen every year.

    Since under the current trend Bernie will eventually kick out all the classic tracks for ones he owns or which make him big $$, this alternating calendar would allow us fans to keep the classics even though we would only see them raced at half as often. The FIA, Bernie and the sponsors would get their worldwide exposure. What do you think?

    1. Or make each championship two years long! ;-)

      WRC used a similar idea for a few years, where they would rotate rounds between a pool of countries… but that was dropped. Not many circuits would want to do all the work to get a GP up and running, and then suddenly have to wait 24 months until their next one.

  27. Chris says:

    Question James
    Have the FIA got rid of the Turkish race or is it that the Turkish government no longer wants to put up the cash to buy the rights.
    Bernie has said for years the Melbourne race is at a bad time for Europe and does not get the best coverage for sponsors there. But he is still happy to take the money and let the race go on.

  28. Mike J says:

    Like most I think the dropping of Turkey is a real shame. The drivers, teams and fans love the circuit. Unfortunately the low attendance must have played heavily with the organisers I assume and their financial commitments to Mr.E.. Surely there must have been an option however Mr E couldn’t resist the big bucks from Bahrain and others. In the end his decision purely is driven by the financial returns to the company and the teams.

    The Belgium/Italy double looks very tempting to go to for distant travellers. At first, Austin looked a chance to go to however the ‘double’ may take my attention. That would be an awesome trip.

    Good to see Australia back at the start. Always seemed the best to either have it first or last as in previous years.

    I suppose however if Bahrain doesn’t become settled and rectify their problems then this one still come have a question mark on it, especially being early in the year.

    I fear for the future that slowly the fan favourite circuits are slowly, slowly being removed and with the talk of Spa/France alternating we will lose more and more history. Hope Austin lives up to its potential.

  29. devilsadvocate says:

    looking at distances on google earth, its interesting to note that the distance between Europe and Brazil is about 1000-1500 miles further than from Austin to Brazil. I know thats not taking into account the curvature of the earth and greater circles navigation but looking at flights, its generally and hour to hour and a half shorter to fly from Texas to Brazil than Europe. So they are saving thousands of pounds of jet fuel by this schedule.
    Although I will admit I didnt go through every race doing the same thing to see if they didnt waste that much somewhere else due to the reshuffle.
    Additionally, the Austin Bergstrom International airport got the international name because it accepts flights from DHL FEDEX and UPS from international destinations, and with the 12000ft runway 17R/35L from the old B52 bomber days when it was an airforce base it can land pretty much anything that gets sent over here. Also nice to note the track is about a 5 min drive from the airport, so not too far for the mega motorhomes to drive.

  30. fausta says:

    It is a shame about Turkey, which is the only circuit where I have watched a race live. The races are always quite good there as well.

    I for one like more races and 21 would have been fine by me. I don’t understand why they take a test away from the pre-season because of the one added in May. If anything they should have more pre-season testing to allow the teams to properly get these multi-million dollar investments up to speed, especially for the back markers.

  31. Nqwazi says:

    Over saturation comes to mind, i found it difficult to fit life around all the races this year. Plus with the dilution of the coverage in the UK next year i suspect it will be easy to drift away and not worry too much about missing the odd race here and there in 2012. That’s from someone who has watched every live race without fail for as long as i can remember.

    1. I used to complain about being in my time zone, where most GPs are at 8:00 am… but I actually like it, because the race is done by 10:00 AM and I can get on with my day.

      I don’t have to interrupt my day by sitting there from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM and be forced to stay in the house on a lovely summer afternoon.

  32. JohnBt says:

    Was hoping for Bahrain to be dropped and Turkey be kept.

  33. Jon says:

    James, I don’t see a test at Mugello as a common sense solution, as it requires the teams to pack up and move to a new track, in effect making the 2012 calendar 21 venues. Given that testing is so limited these days, the traditional test teams are a thing of the past.

    The real common sense solution would be to stay at a track for two or three days directly after a GP. This would massively cut costs for the teams, wear and tear on the personnel, and also allow the beleagured circuit owners to recover a little more revenue by selling test day tickets at $20 each. In fact you could run two tests, Barcelona and Silverstone, and not disrupt the schedule.

    1. Stuart says:

      I agree. I know they had to cut costs when introducing the test ban but am glad they have now realised they cut too much. Good to see an in season test back on the agenda but why not have 18 races and allow 2-3 more tests after a GP weekend at the same venue.

      Best value for money for the teams and fans, a GP weekend with 2 more days of cheaper testing makes a visit to a GP better value for money. Moto GP do this and seems the most logical way to maximise testing and not spend mega £££’s

    2. Aaron95 says:

      The most sensible solution would be to bring back the test days at Silverstone as it is less than 30 miles from the HQ of 8 of the 12 teams.

    3. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Interesting idea, Jon.
      Test days at a circuit AFTER the race has been run. Does anyone know if the idea has been looked at in the past by the FIA?
      Sounds feasable to me.

      1. James Allen says:

        It used to happen in the 1990s at Suzuka and at Abu Dhabi last season

    4. I don’t get the point of testing after a race… surely the new parts were already on the car for the race, right? Sure, it would give them some time to dial in the upgrades, but wouldn’t it make more sense to test on the Wednesday/Thursday before a weekend so the benefits could be applied for that weekend?

      Testing after a race would only stand to improve the upgrades that are already on the car, and with the better part of two weeks to go before the next race, surely they’d have new parts by then, which would end up on the car untested.

      I don’t see the point in testing like that. James, are there any advantages apart from simply improving the set-up of the car?

      1. James Allen says:

        Cost mainly. It’s a bit misleading on tyres, but still most efficient way

      2. Jon says:

        I believe testing after a race is quite valuable actually. The teams spend all weekend refining set-up so have an excellent baseline from which to judge new parts in the post race test.

        With reference to the Abu Dhabi test that was after the last race, the main point of that was to test drivers and Pirelli tyres. The point of in-season post race testing is that it allows the teams to also try parts for the cars. There is limited value in doing this after the last race of the season has been run.

        As Stuart pointed out, MotoGP have been doing this for a while and it works well – I just can’t understand why F1 hasn’t adopted it as well.

    5. No. Why test AFTER the race? The teams are already at the track all day Friday; why not scrap the FP1 FP2 nonsense and make it a full day test session. Where, say, the first three hours (or last three hours) only reserve drivers are allowed to run

  34. Kyle Ward says:

    Running Brazil-USA-Canada back-to-back-to-back may sound like a good idea, but if the teams are complaining about back-to-back’s, how much would they complain about a 3fer. Taking out that option means that you have an odd number of races in the west so their will have to be two trips anyway. It doesn’t really make a difference if it’s US-Canada or US-Brazil but there’s always going to be an odd race out that requires a special trip – until they add a New York race to lump with Canada or a Mexico race to lump with Austin.

    1. Also have to consider weather. When it’s not blisteringly hot in Austin, there’s a good chance it’s freezing cold in Montreal.

  35. docjkm says:

    Agree with all above re Turkey. Good course.

    If F1 does not guard its history, it will pay in the end, as history defines!

    ‘Legacy’ tracks need to be identified, and protected. Perhaps Mr Bernie could buy them (as with Silverstone) and put then in trust, to protect F1 heritage, and leave a legacy far beyond the $ grab that he has helped make part of the current structure? Legacy tracks would then be a protected part of F1, with at least a portion of F1 ownership.

    To my mind, the venues DEFINE the sport as much as do the teams. Drivers come and go, but try to imagine F1 without Ferrari, Spa, or Monaco. Look what happened to ‘Champ Car’ without Indy, and to the Indy Car series without Penske and Newman-Haas teams. Think it cannot happen to F1? Dont be delusional. When its not the same, it’s something different, unfortunately rarely better.

  36. bmg says:

    James, can you tell us why the Asia Pacific races are split up at the start of the season and the end?
    Does the change in seasons have anthing to do with it?
    Being an Australian, I would love to be able to do a tour of just the Asia Pacific races.The way it is I could not justify the cost.

    1. Phil R says:

      Europe’s weather is too unpredictable at those times of year….

  37. Iain says:

    Hi James,

    Is there any chatter that the European GP will move somewhere else soon?

    Hard to understand why Spa might go, but Valencia stays?

    Cheers,
    Iain

    1. gareth says:

      Drop Valencia (Europe) and give the teams some R & R.

    2. Aaron95 says:

      Valencia has a contract to run the race until 2014.

  38. Stephen Kellett says:

    Shame about losing the great Turkey track.

    Also a shame that two of the tests are at the same track. I’m sure the teams would benefit from each test being at tracks with different characteristics.

  39. DanielS says:

    At this stage the only thing that would make a calendar truly eye-catching to me would be a Ban on the horrendous tilke-dromes.

    We have out there Jerez, Imola, Magny-Cours, Kyalami, Estoril, Fuji, Buenos Aries, Watkins Glen, Brands Hatch, Donnington, Zaandvoort, A1 ring, at least one of the German tracks every year, and dozens of others that are all BETTER tracks than these dull monstrosities.

    Shame that all the countries with the big money to spend have absolutely no F1 tradition and no historic venues to develop. Unfortunately money doesn’t buy you memories, nor does it seem to be able to buy you an exciting, attractively located race in a place people are willing to go and see Grand Prixs.

    1. Gaspar says:

      Well every race , including Spa or Monaco had a first race sometimes . So we need a good mix between tradition but also with new tracks , and maybe one of them will be a “historic venue” in 2030 . I think in middle term one of the races to be gone will be Hungary , not a great track , not an important country regarding the sponsorship , and i think the European GP will be alternatively in Turkey , France , Austria etc. from 2013 . And yes Kyalami has to return , World Championship without Africa ?

      1. DanielS says:

        I take your point that every race had a “first race” at some point. But many of the great historic venues became such organically; that is to say there was local racing going on before the Championship started, or there was a real genuine groundswell of support in the region that meant that the racing at certain circuits had a great atmosphere.

        The Tilke circuits are really track-design by numbers; with the exception of Turkey’s imaginatively named “Turn 8″ they are all pretty bland. They are frequently built in countries where nobody cares about F1 except governments who want to make a good name for themselves.

        Great race venues need tradition or culture as well as great circuits. A good example is Melbourne – new track, but the people love F1. Can you really say the same of China, Abu Dbahi, Bahrain when half the grandstands are empty?

    2. Olivier says:

      If only we could vote with our money. It’d be great if we could pay by race, e.g. 5€/race. Boring race tracks will be punished. Great ones will (finally) become profitable.

      I am happy to give 5€ to Spa if I can help them to become profitable. At present it is the government (read: the tax payer) who is subsidizing the F1 event in their country. There’s no such thing as free F1. I am willing to pay per race.

  40. DonSimón says:

    All in all a positive change I would say. Cannot believe we’re finishing a month before christmas. Fingers crossed one of the sponsors will be showing the whole season on FaceBook by the time it kicks off!!

  41. Matt Devenish says:

    So a 19 race schedule then. No way is F1 returning to Bahrain.

    Not fussed about Turkey being dropped, for all it’s hype it was as dull as the next Tilke design. Yes Turn 8 was impressive, but then so are a lot of corners on a lot of tracks that are no longer on the calander.

  42. boulay says:

    James, how do they justify keeping Valencia on the calendar? does it make a lot of money. I know with the rise of Alonso Spain suddenly became the centre of F1 (or so they believe)but surely it is not sensible to have two Grand PRix in one country especially when one is on a dog of a circuit.

  43. ColinZeal says:

    Bahrain in, Turkey out … if only the F1 World Championship was about good racing …

  44. Kevin says:

    Holy crap *9* races all in september, October and November. that is a TIGHT schedule. In 1951, for example, there were only 8 races for the entire season!

  45. ed24f1 says:

    The best news for me in the calendar is that the Australian GP is one week earlier than the past few years.

    This means they will avoid a likely clash with Round 1 of the Australian Rules, which is a big deal, as it drains much of F1′s media coverage and also forces fans to choose one or the other.

  46. irem says:

    As a turkish f1 fan I m truely dissapointed that turkish gp is off the calender and hard to get it back. In turkey f1 is a new sport. It has been an interest in turkey since 1990s. and most of the fans are high school student, collgege students and new employees. considering wage of ticket it is impossible for a student to buy a ticket. it is more than half of their salary or pocket money. I have a lot of friends who want to go and see the race but cant do that because of the price. even me and my sister whose parent are high-paid civil engineers has issues to watch the race.

    sorry for my english by the way.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for your comment

  47. Rishi says:

    1. As ed24f1 above me has commented the Australian GP is a week earlier this season. This for me is an interesting one. In recent years the switch to a 5pm start local time has coincided with the race being held on the day the clocks go 1 hour forward in Europe. Thus, it amounts to a 7am start in the UK and 8am in Europe and this was done to bring the European viewers in. Now it falls before the clocks move forward – making it 7am in Europe and 6am in the UK. From a UK perspective, I don’t think you’d get massive audiences at 6am (the one hour from 6 to 7 could make quite a difference) and for me there is an argument to revert back to the 2pm local time/3am start – which may better suit Australians. However, 7am is probably okay for central Europe so I guess the current arrangement will stay – which is also not illogical I should add.

    2. Turkey – yes it is a really good track but the track attendance has been very low and it does look like it’s day is done. I see Joe Saward has talked about them bidding for the 2020 Olympics, and how this potentially signifies a move away from F1.

    3. Bahrain – this one will run and run I suspect. I think Bernie wanted to give it more time for solutions to the unrest (prefereably some sort of constitutional reform) and run it back-to-back with Abu Dhabi but this was meteorologically incompatible with India (who would have moved forwards as a result). This too would explain the India-Abu Dhabi back-to-back. If it becomes apparent the race can’t be run would Turkey get a temporary reprieve?

    4. An interesting one to look out for in future is the potential sharing of the Belgian and French GPs. It would be nice to see France back on the calendar – it’s where grand prix racing started! However, it would be a shame to see Spa only come round every other year.

  48. jonas says:

    Just noticed that Bahrain is back near the beginning of the schedule … so, we are going to go through all THAT again at the beginning of next year as well.

  49. Matt S says:

    Turkey’s in Europe isn’t it?
    No race puts me to sleep quicker (watching from Australia it’s a constant threat, with Euro races starting 10-11pm) than Valencia.

    Would anybody miss Valencia apart from Bernie?

    Bravo for Melbourne back to the head of the queue. Always great to see the cars for the first time at home.

  50. Hermany says:

    When are we supposed to learn which ten races the BBC will cover?

  51. Blanchimont says:

    The low attendances at Turkey have always confused me. Granted prices are expensive for the local population, but I never understood why there weren’t thousands of fans from other countries there: the race tickets, relative to places like Monza, Silverstone and Spa, were very cheap, and Istanbul is an amazing place to visit.

    Am I right, James, that specators are normally welcome at the pre-season testing? That seems to be a particularly good way to get your F1 fix at affordable off-season prices.

    1. James Allen says:

      That is correct yes. Prices are very reasonable at Jerez and Barcelona. Highly recommend it. Flights are cheap as are hotels. A very low cost way of seeing 100s of laps of prototype F1 cars and getting a sense of the season ahead

  52. colin grayson says:

    reckon on €10/day for entry at preseason

    free camping bes1de the circuit for motorhomes/caravans..take the barbie

  53. jonrob says:

    I’ve come back to this week old thread now because I have just read somewhere that the USA race is on the same day as some major NASCAR event.
    Why would the FIA do this? Is it a failure to check or a deliberate move? Either way it seems like asking for a reduced audience, especially on tv in the USA.

    Given the choice as a USA citizen would you rather go to an event you know and follow or pay three times the price to see a new formula?

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