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Thoughts on the new F1 calendar
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Dec 2009   |  5:26 pm GMT  |  132 comments

The calendar for the first F1 season of the new decade has been confirmed today by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council. It features 19 events and runs for exactly eight months from 14 March to 14 November, the latest finish to a season for a long time.

Abu Dhabi is the last race again (Darren Heath)

Abu Dhabi is the last race again (Darren Heath)


The major change from the previous version of the calendar is that Abu Dhabi has got back its slot as the final race, swapping places with Brazil, which had the last event on the provisional calendar. This is an important victory for the Abu Dhabi organisers as it gives the event a longer life; fans as well as F1 people stay around after the event, make a holiday of the event, use the new facilities such as the Ferrari World roller coaster, which will be built by next year. It greatly increases their financial yield from the event.

Valencia moves to June, just before Silverstone. It has been a poorly attended event in its August slot as many local people are on holiday. The downside of the move is that it now falls just seven weeks after Barcelona. As the circuit is just four hours south of Barcelona this will mean competition for ticket sales in a country still suffering from recession. But the prospect of Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari is considered sufficient box office draw.

Korea is on the calendar, subject to the circuit being homologated. This is standard practice for a new circuit. A representative of the Korean organisers, Kevin Lee was at the Business Forum in Monaco this week and said that the venue would be ready a few months before the event.

“It is totally on plan,” he said. “We have a plan to finish the whole construction work at the circuit on July 5 next year, and up until now it is roughly 60 per cent done. It is really fine.”

There are four back to back pairs of races, and some surprising ones; Brazil is paired with Abu Dhabi, which will be logistically interesting and Spain is paired with Monaco. Conversely Singapore and Japan are no longer a pair, so the Far East leg at the end of the season is now spread out with five weeks away from home for the teams.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone marks the exact turning point of the season, the tenth round of 19.

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

14/3 BHR Bahrain
28/3 AUS Australia
4/4 MYS Malaysia
18/4 CHN China
9/5 ESP Spain
16/5 MCO Monaco
30/5 TUR Turkey
13/6 CAN Canada
27/6 ESP Europe (Valencia)
11/7 GBR Great Britain
25/7 DEU Germany
1/8 HUN Hungary
29/8 BEL Belgium
12/9 ITA Italy
26/9 SGP Singapore
10/10 JPN Japan
24/10 KOR Korea*
7/11 BRA Brazil
14/11 ARE Abu Dhabi

*Subject to the homologation of the circuit.
Note: The races in Australia and Abu Dhabi will start at 1700 local time, in Malaysia at 1600 local time, in Canada at 1200 local time, in Singapore at 2000 local time, and in Japan at 1500 local time.

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1

Oh no! The Canadian Grand Prix is the same weekend as England v USA in the World Cup! I can’t watch that match in Canada…! But there’s no way I can drive 6 hours up from NY after the mid-afternoon beer session watching the match with my English and American buddies…

Dare I fly? Late afternoon storms play havoc with flights at that time of year… How many hours have you spent in the departure lounge in Montreal, James? Although last time out, I did have a good chat with a nice gentleman called Rod Nelson

2

I think James that u and 1 share the same opinions. I think that bernie is leading f1 the wrong way in terms of tracks. I think the old classics are what makes f1 great. Spa last year susaka 2005 monza last year brazil most years silverstone and Monaco last year and Canada usually something happens. Then look at Valencia barcalona abu dhabi hungaroring Singapore. All great fancy places but boring and unchallenging race tracks. If u followed kimi’s simple way of thinking of life f1 would be truely outstanding. Just great tracks and plenty of hard racing and overtaking

3

Ah, I remember the good old days when it was 30 or so. The summers seemed to last longer then.

4

The problem with this calendar is only minor at the moment but could get bigger in the future – too much pandering to new money. Moving Abu Dhabi to the season finale because that is what they want. And moving Valencia because the organisers can’t fill the stands.

In my opinion Brazil is a better place for the finale as it’ll be exciting racing even if the Championships have been decided already. And Valencia is now too close to the Barcelona GP, which is bad for a country whose fans are still relatively new and still quite fickle.

I’d also like to see more “back to back” races on the calendar, but that is just personal preference.

5

James

Do they ask the drives how a circuit layout should be and should the teams only test at tracks that are not on the calendar? Thay way we should get some better racing at Barcelona

6

Don’t be silly, what do they know 😕 ❓

7

The Austrailian grand prix, my favourite race.

Should be the opener in my opinion.

8

No no no no, the British Grand Prix is the best of the year 🙂

9

if anybody is about i suggest you get down to monaco harbour side and watch the madness unfold as all the trucks roll into town and try to build the hospitality units before the race weekend. Monaco is difficult enough to drive a truck down into let alone doing it on a tight time frame like this back to back. I know it has happened before but each hospitality unit has evolved and got bigger, and with all the new teams this year im not sure the paddock will even be big enough to hold them all.

10
Paige Michael-Shetley

I don’t like the swapping of the Abu Dhabi and Brazil dates. Brazil should be the last race on the calendar. It’s a great track that produces great action and racing, and there is plenty of drama involved. Furthermore, Brazil is a much more attractive tourist destination for fans and F1 personnel, as it’s much cheaper than Abu Dhabi and provides much more of a liberal party atmosphere, which surely is welcome to F1 personnel looking to blow off eight months of steam in an all-night binger with some of the most gorgeous women on planet Earth. (Sorry, but I don’t find the prospect of partying to the tune of sparkling grape juice in a country where alcohol is banned to be very interesting.)

They should move all the races between Canada and Hungary forward a week and give Turkey the slot in the first week of August. Having gone to Istanbul for the race last year, I feel strongly that it has a lot of potential as a grand prix host with both a great circuit and a fantastic tourist destination. Seeing as August is the prime holiday month for Western Europeans, Istanbul would certainly be a more attractive sell to tourists during that time of year rather than in late May/early June.

11

Yes! Hungary is an awful race and with it being the last race before the summer break, ends the first half of the season on a complete downer. Thank God Spa is the 2nd half opener. Gets everyone back in the mood.

Are we likely to see Hungary being stripped of its Grand Prix. It’s pretty much a big go-karting track with no room for overtaking. Dull as!!!

12

It´s seems a good calender , but i kind like Brazil as the last race because it´s at the end of the afternoon in Europe.

13

Liked Australia as the opening round but to be honest I do like Sakhir and I think opening the season will do Bahrain good. It will help crowds and TV viewing figures (which were apparently high when it opened in 2006) which is particularly important at a time when Abu Dhabi has sort of reined in on its parade.

Turkey has been notorious for low attendance since it moved to the late spring/early summer slot – so why is it there again? I’m not sure what the attendance figures were in 05-7, but why not move it back to August now that Valencia is in June? As James says its a fantastic circuit.

A lot of criticism about the “Tikedromes”, but while I agree theyre not all perfect I’m more concerned about Valencia. It just seems a bit pointless – yes there was Alonso-mania to tap into when the deal was done but unemployment is really high in Spain at the moment, the attendance is hence low anyway and the racing dull. I think moving it a lot closer to Barcelona also seems to imply Bernie doesnt really know what to do with it. A great season for Alonso at Ferrari may remedy the problem but I still think it may only paper over the cracks.

14

I don’t like seeing so many venues on the calendar that have no tradition of motorsport. The right to host an event of the pinnacle of motorsport should be earned and not bought. I think future calendars should have a core of traditional venues with the remaining slots filled on rotation by other countries where the tradition is only developing. That way established venues do not have to be dropped to make way for those who can grease Bernie’s palm. I also think the European GP should be shared around Europe and not always in Spain.

15

“European GP should be shared around Europe and not always in Spain.”

It used to be in different venues each year.

But then why should it exist? We don’t have north or south American GP nor an African or Asian, it was originally to squeeze another European venue in when the money was better in Europe for Bernie. Now those days are past and the money is in the new/emerging markets.

16

The whole notion of a European Grand Prix is ridiculous, even more so knowing we have NO Grand Prix in the USA and only one in South America.

The USA, Mexico and Argentina should all have races as should South Africa 🙂

17

Don’t worry Brazil, championship will wrap up at or before you come up, and after this year’s race we won’t bother watching that last one at boo boo dabi. Anyone who’s been to Interlagos knows that it ain’t pretty but some how it’s one of the best and steals your heart.

You’re like a rich show off boo boo dabi, and no one likes a show off. In the end your six star venue may be nice, but I’d rather pee in the bushes at Spa any day – rain

or shine.

I’m not sure that even Schumi will get me to watch that episode again.

Imola oh how I miss you.

18

James,

From an outsider’s perspective it appears Tilke has become the Tom Fazio of F1 circuits, representing a dependable outcome, on time and on budget, if perhaps lacking the truly maverick streak needed to put a new track up there with the likes of Spa. A kind of “that worked, let’s do it again” mentality many golf course architects fall into, hence the sameness of the beginning and end of the laps at Zuhai and Sepang or the deja vu one experiences watching the first turn at Istanbul and being instantly reminded of the same corner at Interlagos.

To continue the golfing parable, who is the Tom Doak of circuit design? Is there one? I can’t imagine that many circuits get built.

19

I was really happy when they reinstated Interlagos as the season finale… and now they’ve gone and backflipped.

I’ll tell you what, I might create a fans shopping list of things I want in F1… sleek car designs of 1980-2008, 10 points for a win remaining in F1, Interlagos season finale, keeping non-ex-drivers as stewards… I’ll send it to the FIA and they can do 100% opposite with everything 🙂 Good times!

20

I agree with the logistical problems of having Brazil and Abu Dhabi back to back, but also having Spain and Monaco back to back is a huge headache, especially for Red Bull who have to construct their motor home in the next port over and float it in.

Ive also seen that there is a 2 week gap either side of the British Grand Prix which is interesting and could leave the door open for the French Grand Prix. But saying that, if it did happen then more dates would have to change as you cant really have 3 races on the bounce.

Another observation is the 3 week gap between China and Spain and the normal 4 week gap after Hungary. Do you know if they are planning on shutting down the factory again to try and save costs??

21

Wow, I can’t believe all the casual F1 supporters your site receives James!

I bet they didn’t even know that Brazil used to start the season off. Why is it so important to have Australia start and Brazil end when it’s only been like that for the last few years?!

Also the people blaming the tracks for no overtaking – try watching different types of Formula. Ever seen GP2? Well they had no trouble overtaking in Abu Dahbi. Valencia has proved some amazing races. It’s not the tracks that are a problem it’s the cars/drivers. Watch more motor racing and you will see what I mean.

22

I agree, all the british fans claiming the merits of Silverstone seem not to have noticed how much of a procession it was this year for the British G.P.

23

As spectacular an event overall as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was, the race was a mere shadow of all the hype, glitz and glamour which had preceded it.

Brazil should finish the season. It has been something of a stalwart on the F1 calendar for many, many years and usually serves up a fantastic feast of motor-racing.

A lot of the recent tracks added to the calendar have some kind of unique feature in their design or layout to make them enticing, but they usually come a cropper when it comes to actually giving fans a decent level of wheel to wheel racing.

You have the bridge in Valencia which, in racing terms, may go down as one of the most boring F1 events in the history of the sport.

Then you have the stunning backdrop of Abu Dhabi with the racetrack passing under the fantastic Yas Hotel; but, sadly, the race itself came up short after all the hype.

Hopefully, the new Korean track will break this unwelcome tradition but I wonder if there will be another unique carrot included in the design of this Tilke track as well.

But anyway, less inane drivel from me and back to the original point: 🙂

James, taking only racing into consideration, of all the races in the calendar for 2010, which one would you like to see round off the season if you had the choice?

24

Monza

25

Give that man a knighthood!

26

I still think that if they were serious about this ‘green’ thing they would optimize the sched so as to minimize all the travel that is producing that ghastly CO2.

27

That would make far too much sense.

28

I was hoping that we could have to Portugal Grand Prix back on the calender on the new circuit that has been built?

Any change that the Portuguese Grand prix could join soon?

29

I agree, good memories of this Grand Prix and seeing Senna perform as ONLY Senna could.

The chances of it reappearing are slight as I don’t think they could raise the robbing sums demanded by Ecclestone 🙁

30

Shame we have so many dud events and tracks on the calender.

Some of the new tracks are simply not worthy of holding a Grand Prix when the racing is considered 🙂

When (if ever – we can only dream) will those that control F1 realise that money alone does not create good races, history, passion, knowable fans and great tracks do ❗

31

I’d rather Brazil closed the season. The races there for the almost the last decade have been stunning in comparison to Abu Dhabi which was a sparkling procession.

32

100% agree, Brazil always serves us an excellent racing Grand Prix, is it only the fans who know this ❓

33

I am just so pleased to see Canada back on the calender. In my view it usually holds some interesting races

34

Me, too. The Canadian GP has given us some great races, interesting results and, for the television audience, a real sense of speed from the cars because of the proximity of the walls.

35

I totally agree. Montreal is my favorite circuit. Turns 1 and 2 always catch people out (especially Alonso) and the high speed nature of the track means only the fitest survive. Seems the various authorities raised the $15m and the Canadian GP is back on the list for the next 5 years! Woooohoooo

36

Should never have been driven off it it the first place, who on earth made that decision ❓

Couldn’t possibly be the same person who took the Grand Prix off Silverstone can it ❓ 🙂

37

Got to agree with you, being a Canuk.

Very happy Montreal is back on. Do you know how easy it is to get to the track? Just get on the Metro! Brilliant!

And downtown Montreal during the race weekend is fantastic.

But I digress….

38

Disappointed to see that the South Korean track is yet another Tilke design. Hopefully, it’ll be more conducive to overtaking and half-decent racing than his insipid Abu Dhabi bling-drome, and not just another example of putting lipstick on a pig.

Great to see Montreal back on the calendar though.

39

Was very interested to meet John Rhodes from Populous at the Monaco Forum. He is doing the track changes and all the architecture work at Silverstone, rather than Tilke. His company worked on Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and is also involved in the Olympic stadium. Apparently it is not obligatory to use Tilke, it’s just that many new tracks choose to. Maybe Rhodes’ work at Silverstone will change that.

40

As far as I’m concerned they ruined the flat out spirit of Silverstone many years back when the twiddly bits were put in, Vale etc, let alone the Bridge, Priory, Luffield, complex.

After Club (which itself originally could be taken flat in a BMW635csi,I was taught it by James Weaver, of trench fame, yeah name dropping, you’ve never heard of him? He later went to the US and settled into LMS) it was flat all the way up to Woodcote chicane with a sniff and clench at Abbey then depending on your constitution a lift or brake or a scrub-off into/over Woodcote chicane trying to avoid drifting out into the Weaver trench while keeping (or getting for the shy) the power on to be into the pit straight a fast as poss.

So I am sad to hear the even more twiddly bits are to be added. It seems the intent is to make it more like a go kart track. 🙂

41

Bingo! I wonder if that’s why the average age of the drivers keeps going down. Young as they are, 19, 20 etc., karting isn’t going to be that far behind them. Adapting to the tracks would then be the easiest part of the job; lap length aside, they’re going to be familiar with these kinds of tracks. If they can adapt to the cars and the hyper atmosphere, they’re going to be okay.

42

I think the problem with Tilke designs is not Tilke, but the FIA and its regulations on how to build a race track.

I’m sure their rules will enforce a similar track layout wherever you build one, much the same way as their rules on F1 car designs doesn’t leave much room for variations either.

43

Does anyone know where you can find race attendences of all the tracks and TV ratings per country for F1. Would be interesting to see.

I wish Melbourne was the first race as everyone is saying.

Valencia, Barelona should be replaced but what about Herez as a circuit is it good for overtaking?

Slow corners followed by long straights is good but to get more overtaking I think we need bit faster corners (before aero tkaes over from mechanical grip) then long striaghts into wide slow corner and then a switch back. Abu Dhabi had long straight with slow coners each end and very little overtaking. We need the cars to be able to use the slipstream then outbrake each other somehow (longer braking distance would help as well).

44

I don’t think that the FIA forces similar layouts, they forbid some of the more interesting possibilites but mostly it’s not their fault.

Why do tracks look the way they look?

1. Commercial interests.

What’s the worst part about Abu Dhabi? The rectangular short straights. But those were mandatory because the circuit’s raison d’etre is to fill up the yacht parking lot and so the track has to follow the waterfront.

2. Commercial interests 2.

Why was Hockenheim neutered? Because the organizers wanted a shorter track so the spectators in the stadium section would see more of the cars.

3. Commercial interests 3.

Singapore and Valencia are street circuits which really limits what you can do design-wise.

4. Car aerodynamics.

Long straights into tight corners are the only way to semi-reliably produce overtaking.

5. Crappy locations (commercial interests 4)

What makes Spa and Brazil great are the elevation changes but if the land is flat as a pancake there’s not much you can do.

I don’t think most of his tracks are all that great but I don’t understand all the Tilke hatred. I mean, I’ve read so many people swear eternal enmity for e.g. destroying Hockenheim. But shortening that track wasn’t his idea and the redesign as such isn’t bad.

Or someone blamed him for not having Magny-Cours. ‘scuse me? a) Bernie wanted to get out of that place and b) did you actually watch any recent race there? Magny Cours looks nice and flowing and everything a Tilke design is not.

But it just doesn’t work with modern cars. Until the Overtaking Working Group comes up with a solution *and* makes it stick (hello double diffusor) that’s just the way it is. The last interesting thing to happen at Magny Cours was Schumacher winning with a four stopper and that’s just sad.

45

Not sure that is true. I’ll do a post on this, I think

46

The lipstick on a pig comment is excellent 😆

I say give Norman Foster a chance to design a track and you’ll something magical every time ❗

47

I hope, because after so many years making circuits, he has his share of guilt, on the dull racing. This has to be true, and give someone else a chance to make it better.

48

I think the problem is that what we, the fans, want is fantastic racing, with high speeds and brave overtaking manoeuvres. However, the commercial side of the F1 business, which brings in so much more revenue and custom than we the fans can, is plush facilities, fancy advertising and slow, tight, technical sections where their sponsors logo’s will be on show as often as possible, thus getting more for their money.

If you look at all the newer tracks, and compare them to the older tracks, Monaco aside, then there are significantly more slower corners in the new circuits with tighter, slower bends. The only reason I can think of is for financial reasons.

49

I can see potential in the new Silverstone layout for getting a run out of Club, keeping your foot in around the outside of the right-hander at Abbey and being in contention for the left-hand hairpin in the “Arena”. That should sort a bit of brave racing.

50

Trust me, no sponsor brings as much money as TV audience.

51

I agree with the commenter that it feels strange to not have Australia as the first race. Having Melbourne as the first race fitted just as well as having Adelaide as the last.. the races tend to have a relaxed atmosphere about them which related to the championship either beginning or (usually) being over.

It saddens me more to see all those tracks on the calendar which are souless, technical, fiddly tracks compared to the older circuits designed around speed, bravery and balls-to-the-wall racing. Okay, so Silverstone has traffic jams and Spa doesn’t have five star hotels bridging the start-finish straight but they have something the other tracks will never achieve with their investor’s millions.

52

Actually, no. The decade starts with the 0 so 2000 was the first, 2009 has been the last. Just wait for all the ‘reviews of the decade’ in the next few weeks!! 2010 is the first Year of the next.

53

Ok, I didn’t want to write this but because you’re the 10th guy to writing the same reply and the 2nd to fail at replying to the correct post:

Of course a new “decade” begins on 1/1/2010 just as it did today (the “decade” from 12/12/2009 to 11/12/2019). But when you use decade the way you use century as a fixed interval, then no, it doesn’t.

The first decade of the 21st century began, like the century, on 1/1/2001 and will end on 31/12/2010.

We’re counting years after the birth of Jesus Christ and there was no 0th year after Christ.

1-10 first decade, first century

101-110 first decade, second century

2001-2010 first decade, 21st century.

But second grade logic is beyond many people so we just had the ’00s, the first decade of the 2000s, which raises the question what they’d call the decade between the 1890s and the 1910s, the 1900s’ ’00s? And when exactly did the 000s’ ’00s start when there was no 0? 1-9 makes for a rather short decade.

54

If we are going to use Jesus’ birthday as a point of measurement why aren’t we using 25/12 – Christmas day – supposedly the day he was born? Little spanner in the works there!

Again I have the question to all those who maintain that the decade begins end of 2010 – do you have special computer keyboards? If not can you point out to me where the 10 key is?

55

You’re being incredibly pedantic. Yes, there was no year one, and yes you are technically correct. BUT common convention is to list decades as starting in the year ‘0’ and ending in the year ‘9’ – hence 1980 belonged to the ’80’s’ decade and not the ’70’s’. and, 99% of the population of the world celebrated the millenium at the end of 99.

I’m sure it makes you feel very smug to be right about this, but I’m guessing that it made you feel a bit lonely at your sparsely populated millenium party at the end of the year 2000

56

You’re all wrong! There was a 0 and it was Damon Hill; it was 1 they missed out and Alain Prost was 2!

57

It’s not a matter of second grade logic (which is most probably synonymous of uneducated common sense), but of the difference between discrete and continuous mathematics.

If a child is born on 1/1/2000, how do you call the 1/1/2001? It’s first birthday and the child is one year old. The time span between 1/1/2000 and 1/1/2001 (actually 31/12/2000) will be called the ‘first year’.

Therefore the 1/1/2010 will be the tenth birthday and the start of the next decade.

The same happens with the birth of Christ more than 2000 years ago: 31/12/2009 is the end of the 2010th year and the new decade (the 201st) starts on the 1/1/2010.

QED

58

If we are using Jesus’ birthdays as the basis then you must realise that he wasn’t 1 year old when he was born – therefore the first year after he was born ended on his first birthday… therefore his first decade ends on his tenth birthday not begins on it –

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