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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
“Captivating” – How Classic F1 circuits have shown the way for new ones in 2017
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Sep 2017   |  4:39 pm GMT  |  228 comments

Although it was a painful weekend for Ferrari the real take home from the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last weekend was the enthusiasm of the crowd and, on reflection, this fits a pattern we have seen this season on the so called ‘classic’ circuits like Silverstone, Spa and Monza.

The drivers like Vettel and Hamilton praise them because of the unique challenges each presents from a driving point of view, but there is evidence that Liberty Media’s appointed bosses in F1 are getting the message too.

They had been saying the right things about the classic tracks at the start of the year, about how they must remain part of the calendar and how important they are for the historic value of the sport. But they hadn’t properly experienced them at that point.

Monaco was the first opportunity, although Chase Carey had discreetly visited in 2016. Silverstone, Spa and Monza this year were of a different level of magnitude in terms of enthusiasm from recent years and the message from the fans at the venue seems to have got through to the bosses.

So did the numbers: Silverstone saw 344,500 spectators over the four days from Thursday to Sunday, Spa had a crowd of 265,000 spectators (an increase of 11.8% over 2016), Monza received 185,000 spectators at the track over the four days of the event, up 32.8% on last year, according to F1 Management figures.

Sean Bratches said after Monza, “I think the passion and emotion and energy and excitement amongst this fanbase was captivating. It was very contagious, and I had a wonderful grand prix, not only on a business level, but on a personal level.”

This is important because these circuits need to be cut some slack. I’ve never understood how F1 under Bernie Ecclestone could reward the F1 teams so generously for being part of the history of the sport, especially Ferrari, when there was no value seemingly apportioned to the history that Monza or Silverstone bring to F1.

If the whole calendar were made up of races on new tracks like Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, it would still be a valid world championship, in attractive locations, but there would be no traditions to build on. And also those races don’t get crowd figures like Silverstone or Spa.

When I interviewed Carey back in April I asked him whether it was a priority to ensure that those “classic” races are properly sustainable and part of the ongoing fabric of the sport?

“Very much so,” he replied.

“We have great events around the world, but the foundation of this sport is Western Europe, which is largely where the tracks you’re talking about, exist. That’s tremendously important and what we want to do is to build.. but very much recognise that the foundation is critically important. So not grow at the expense of the foundation, but I think your foundation needs to be strong and continue to make it stronger and then we can add the dimension of further growth but those historic events are an incredibly important part.”

That was before he had seen any of it in action.

So for me, one of the most positive stories of the F1 2017 season so far has been the ‘bounce’ at the classic tracks and we can only hope that when contracts come to be renewed the unique contribution that these tracks make to the F1 story and the F1 ecosystem will be recognised.

What do you think of what we have seen from the classic venues this season? Leave your comment in the section below

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Well, this all sounds good, bu the proof of the pudding is in the eating: When Silverstone asked Chase to reduce the hosting fee mid-contract, in the interest of financial viability, Chase told Silverstone to pound sand.
Now, in truth Chase didn't tell Silverstone to pound sand, he told Silverstone that the Formula One Group would help Silverstone extract more revenue from existing fans and bring in incremental fans. Where those incremental fans will "stand and watch" I don't know, and I doubt the existing fans are ready to pony up much additional revenue per head, even for a "superbowl-like experience".


Maybe someone more versed on the rumors could step in - however I believe it was not so cut and dry.

I believe Liberty made a counter offer to Silverstone to keep the existing contract, and also to take over the track commercial activities over the F1 weekend. And Silverstone declined! Here is Silverstone whining about being in the red, and making a loss, and Liberty tried to resolve this by saying they'd take on the 'risk' of finding commercial sponsors to close the gap and of course make a profit if they could do a better job.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.


Around that time I read an article about this but the deal was for Liberty to take the circuit from Silverstone for 4-5 days and deal with all the tickets, fans, F1 etc. Silverstone owners declined because the deal did not include any maintenance or repairs that will inevitably arise from 350,000 fans visiting the circuit in that period. Just giving the track away and then come back to hundreds of thousands of £££ worth of damage and repairs doesnt sound good to me either..


I'm not sure about that

Something along those lines is the direction of discussions for a new relationship

I'm not sure they were discussing it before the break clause was triggered, but maybe you know different


Q: How to captivate the public?
A: Easy, lock down the gates and throw the key away. xD


I know you're joking, but when you see the price gauging once you're inside the circuit precinct, there is a lot of truth to this!


Damn straight. At Monza last weekend they took our pack ups from us as we went in - all I got to keep was a bottle of water (but not the lid, for some stupid reason). Sure enough the markup on food and drink inside the track was ridiculous.


I know they have to find money somewhere, but that is absolutely disgusting. Do you know if it's the same at all tracks?


Silverstone allow you to bring you own food & drink in (even Alcohol) the only time they will take things off you is if its in glass bottles.


@James K

It never used to be at Silverstone (but I haven't been for about 10 years now), and it wasn't the case at Spa two years ago.


I was at Spa this year. It was the first time I’ve visited a GP and I had chosen it over Silverstone purely because the ticket prices were far more reasonable. I had a bronze ticket so spent the Friday walking the track, finding somewhere to sit for the main event.

In short - I would go again. I thought the atmosphere was superb, the other fans you speak to are knowledgeable. I enjoyed the camaraderie between fans which contrasts with the tribalism we get in football here in England.

My only complaint was the food being a bit overpriced and naff, but I just ended up taking my own for the rest of the weekend.

A great weekend away, and I certainly hope we keep these venues. It sounds as though that is the intention and the change of tone from Liberty is refreshing. I lost count of the amount of times Bernie ‘threatened’ one of these great venues.


Good choice. Excellent general admission circuit as the hilly nature allows for good views. Silverstone would be a disappointment after Spa I assure you. However, Monza is way better and the!


You are right. Race fans have more knowledge than ever.

I'm really not sure about the deal with Silverstone but Liberty or whomever is in charge can't cut too much slack because of blowback. Other tracks would then demand better deals.

Maybe the way is to cut them all some slack since the real money comes from media rights. Maybe this can happen under the next new one. Ferrari would need something too. So I would say none of this will be easy.


I was also at Spa this year, and you're right, the food was rubbish. This is where Silverstone shines, the entire circuit is lined with food places and varied too; you can even get a roast dinner!

I did enjoy Spa this year, and the frequent track activity helped get over the issue of having to queue to get in to the circuit at 7am in order to find a spot for the 2pm race.

I went to the MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring last year, and I appreciate that it's not as big an event, but the food and organisation there was considerably worse than Spa 2017.



I did exactly the same, having visited about 10 years before. 7 euros for chips is about my only complaint. Oh and the epic queue to get out at the end! Otherwise a superb day and I'm loving hanging out with dutch f1 fans. What a great bunch!


Well it's good to hear Liberty (still) making the right noises however actions speak louder than words.


Well I's good to hear Liberty (still) making the right noises. However actions speak louder than words so I will wait and see what they do in the future (re: the British Grand Prix)

But it sort of says what we already knew the "classic" circuit are the ones that we get more passionate about. I suspect if you asked people to name their top circuits they would most like to see on the Grand Prix calander they'll be the likes of Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Monaco, Interlagos, Suzuka, Giles Villeneuve.


Drop Monaco... it should be about the racing not the glam.


abu dhabi singapore


Yeah Abu Dhabi is the last race but to me It doesn't seem that important. The old tracks are just better because for one thing they aren't designed buy the same guy.


Abu Dhabi is dull as dishwater. It's a travesty their oil money secures them the last race on the calendar.


Well NickH, you said it just there.... money... we can thank Bernie for that I suppose.👎


Abu Dhabi is the single worst track on the calendar, near infinite money to spend and the best thing about the GP is a hotel that lights up. They should rip the whole track up and start again with some exciting corners less run off and add some hills too.


Singapore, Baku, Sochi and other contrived modern street circuits are rubbish when compared with long, sweeping, classic circuits like Spa and Silverstone.

The best modern circuit which whets my appetite when it comes around is Austin's 'Circuit of the Americas'. A classic in the making.


Now I think Baku is the exception. I think it's a pretty good track.


I like Singapore, Sochi and Abu Dhabi are pretty forgettable though.


It's a good track but still too many run offs though!


Spot on. One of the main reasons people show up at the new tracks is to be able to say these are the same cars and drivers we saw running at Monte Carlo, Silverstone, Spa and Monza. No old (heritage) tracks would gut that. Besides they have character: the corners have names not numbers. Just saying Curva Grande, the Lesmos, and Parabolica gets the blood flowing.


Well maybe a name for a corner is good or not but I like the ones where the actual racing is better which tend to be old ones but there are always exceptions. I like Baku even though it's new..


name some character please...


I like the sound of this but I also hope Liberty is working to bring more classic tracks back to the schedule. Mexico City is already back. Paul Ricard returns next year. I still have hopes of seeing Imola back as well. What about giving breaks to Hockenheim and Nurburgring so that they can be successful again? What more races in the USA? Watkins Glen still has its FIA approval. The more classic circuits on the schedule, the more popular the series will be.


+1 Dear Liberty, please bring back Imola, Estoril, Brands Hatch, hockenheim (old circuit)... and for goodness sake, lower the ticket prices so that the average family can and new fans can experience the sport we love


The old Hockenheim no longer exists. Look at it on google maps. It's just a forest now.


Hockenheim old circuit. Please...


The Glen would be better than Texas any day.


Watkins Glen, for sure, would be a wonderful addition and nowhere near as costly to implement than a street circuit in megalopolis, one would assume.

And, don't forget Indianapolis -- in spite of the tire and promoter issues from years past -- times have changed. The opportunity for fan seating with a total track view, attendance and camping are significant. SCCA has scheduled their National Championship runoffs there during the last week of this month, and there are more than 1,000 entries registered for something like 24 classes. It will be a great event and something available nowhere else that will compare.


how many races will there be in a season then?


Just get rid of the rubbish races.


And add good ones then about 21 or 22 would be a lot considering F1 goes around the world.


Why is the F1 media only just waking up to this bounce? The atmosphere has been the same at these GPs for over a decade. Is it only now that Bernie has gone that the media feel comfortable talking about it?

There is another circuit they could add which would have exactly the same buzz about it. Imola. That's money on the table for F1 right there.


Yeah, i agree with that Matt. It seems everyone has been captive to Bernie's madness. A poster on another article referred to it as F1's own Stockholm Syndrome when referring to the F1 ruling class and the media.
F1 has a "golden age" that is the baseline for all the fans. in chasing the almighty dollar, Bernie and the manufacturers have largely ignored that at their peril.
Here's hoping that Chase and Ross might be the right guys to re-establish F1's connection to the baseline, both on the circuit side, and on the engine competitiveness side!


Agreed with Bernie's madness, but still he is a fascinating individual, Napoleon like, amazing how long he managed to control this sport. I wish he is gonna write a book, definitely I would buy it.
I have no doubt Liberty is gonna make F1 great again, three great professionals.


A return for the likes of Imola, Estoril and Brands Hatch wouldn't go amiss............


Restoring Hockenheim to its former glory would be great too.


Hi Laguna,

Please allow me to respond to this by using a quote from the great Muz..."that my friend is a monumental masterpiece of an understatement"!


Hosting fees old boy? Ticket prices? Bernie gone, but this is liberty media were talking about here. They want returns and nothing else.


Agreed! Though I think the odds of going back to Brands are very long indeed. Just like going back to Zandvoort (though with "Max mania" sweeping the land it may not be so unlikely).


This is a positive. It is fair to say that Dutch are big F1 fans, and Spa and Monza numbers likely reflect that. It looked that way on TV.

"Spa had a crowd of 265,000 spectators (an increase of 11.8% over 2016)"
Q:How were these Dutch Max fans rewarded?
A: With a PU failure.

"Monza received 185,000 spectators at the track over the four days of the event."
Q: How were these Dutch Max fans rewarded?
A: With PU penalties and P10.

What memories did they take away? Or perhaps disappointment?

If disappointment, can they lay it at the feet of PU regulations?

Could the battle in front of these fans been much better and much fairer?

Serious questions that need answers.


Agreed the battle up front adds to this. We could have even more of this when the formula changes I hope?

In NASCAR next year they are just starting to implement penalties for things that make no sense. Its all to control costs. The big teams in any kind of racing will spend what they want no matter what.

As far as the tracks go it's real hard just to break even with zero money from media. Silverstone can't make it work even with all of the fans they have?


The Renault / /Red Bull failures are entirely down to the team. Same rules apply to everyone, they are just not doing a good enough job.

That's it. Don't complain about the rules, they should put their house in order. If they did, everyone would benefit. They are the reason the fans went away disappointed.


they enjoyed their time with ricciardo during the podium celebration..i heard them..


A genuine feel good story and you still can't resist beating that same old tired drum

Reliability has ALWAYS been a factor in determining races. Ok less so in the v8 era but thats to be expected when engines where simpler and stable regs for years led to less development
Get over it


Cracking post Sebster!


Truth. Simply the truth.


If I'm reading this correctly, you are stating that Verstappen's retirement in Belgium and grid penalty in Italy happened somehow because of the PU regulations.

For Belgium, Horner stated clearly that the issue with Max's PU was a "finger problem" - so human error, nothing to do with the regulations.

For Italy, the penalty was due to Red Bull overstepping the limit for ICE and MGU-H. If you want blame someone, try Renault, their reliability is the problem, not the PU's regulations.

What they need to change is the penalties system for replacements of PU: deduct 10-15 points from the team's total for each new unit after the allocated number (be it 4, 5 or even higher), it will work wonders (if a more performance-based financial reward system for the teams is in place).


Fine the teams and remove crew chiefs for a race or two.....ah never mind.


Agree, they just need to ensure their TV graphics can handle negative numbers for Honda. 😉


Whilst the argument for deducting points is all well and good for the top teams - the problem will be at the bottom where an amazing result for a Sauber (or a Manor at Monaco) can completely undone by reliability. I'd be more angry at that to be honest. And I've no doubt some teams will go into the negative points total, which is just as farcical. Perhaps a % of the point total taken off a constructor is better, but then again with the smaller teams we have points with decimal places..


Someone gave it some thought. Exactly Sebastian. Mercedes won last 3 years WCC by 300 points. How many free engines is that?

Hey mod, you didn't like my post about the fact that F1 throws a party basically, people come and then these PU regs make the party a bummer, like running out of booze at your own party?


Sebee, if people keep coming back to the same party, then maybe they are seeing something you aren't. At some point you will just have to reaothat not everyone hates the PUs as much as you.


Sometimes people don't know any better. Look at all the crap they sell at dollar stores. It all brakes 30 seconds after you walk out of the store. Yet people keep shopping at those crapy dollar stores. Not only that, hardly anything is really a dollar in those places! Just a total cluster of tackiness and crap being sold to people. And yet, they buy it.

Maybe that's their model, sell crap that brakes so that people have to buy it again, and again, and again...


Sebee, people don't kniw any better?! And I assume you have nominated yourself as the only one clever enough to see the truth, and educate us poor lost souls?! Either that or you are simply wrong, that maybe people don't hate the PUs like you, that maybe they don't think the sport is all a fix and that maybe they are enjoying watching a closely fought championship battle between two top drivers in very impressive cars?


Haha...McLaren would be on -155 points or somewhere in that region probably :))
I agree with you that teams will put more pressure on engine suppliers but we have to be real here and state that a lot of the factors that cause these parts to fail/wear cannot be controlled.


I suspect whenever the driver/team does poorly in a race or fails to finish many will be dissapointed regardless of nationality or where the race is held.

I seem to recall engine failures in the V8, V10, V12 etc.. eras. Or put another way an engine can fail no matter on what tech it's based.


There was a time when if your engine failed in a race, you could get a fresh one for next race, no penalties. A logical start.


Yeah I think one every 2 races could solve this too. The manufacturers are going to spend money somehow.


Look at Lewis, he had like 10 PUs last year, so clearly there is a way to do it and still just barely not win the WDC.

Seriously, if you're in a Grand Prix, and your engine fails IN RACE after your 4 PU allocation and you DNF you should get a free PU for next GP or in the very least free component that failed, no penalties. It's so bloody obvious and logical, I can't believe it's not a rule.

Who pays for it? Manufacturers! They're the ones providing the engines that are failing to their customers ahead of the time they said they should. They wanted these frikken PUs, warranty this complex junk!


Sebee. 10 PUs for Lewis last tear?! We demand better from you, Lewis used 6 ICEs last year, 8 turbos and 8 MGUH units. He didn't use ten of anything.


It's not just Max, how do you think the Australians felt when Red Bull could only just barely get Ricciardo onto the track on Sunday earlier this year?

The over-complication of the post-2014 engine formula has seen many drivers not able to participate on Sundays over the last couple of years. This leaves a portion of spectators extremely disappointed they won't see their favourite turn a wheel on race day.


i think it's more productive to deal with what it is rather than what it could be.


IMO doing both is the way to go. Deal with what is and plan for the future.


You're right.

There is no problem here at all.

Everything is peachy. Hey, it's peach season, have one!


those crowd numbers are not realistic. the actual numbers are in raceday..very few turn up for testing or qualifying only.


I have considered that. Spa has a legal capacity of 70,000 for example apparently.


For God sake change the bloody record


Track listing
Artist: Sebee
Album: I need a fix

Side 1
I. I miss that trademark sound. (5:10)
II. When drivers drove (4:33)
III. Less then 10%...of the package (3:14)
IV. You're too damn heavy (2:57)
V. 10 (7.10)
VI. I need more then 4 (3.49)
VII. Everyone needs a shot (3:25)

Side 2
I. Let the fuel flow (4.08)
II. Quit buying trophies (3.29)
III. Fair shot for all (4:41)
IV. compromise by any other name. (5:19)
V. 10 [Dance Mix] (8:12)
VI. If you love us, you will fix it. (6:00)
VII. You can do better. (2:48)


Sebee your best effort so far
I take my hat off to you sir.


The Roman fifth song on both sides are a nice dig for V10, obsession. A few battered you on that. Smart folk.


I like side one too damn heavy.


One of your better efforts Sebee. Have a rec !


Sebee. Will vol 2 include "Toyota Prius sales figures year ending 2015", "take me home lovely Tesla", "My rose tinted specs mist over for you Michael", "I want to ride my bicycle (the one with the Ferrari stickers)" , "loving F1 is wrong - and let me tell you why again","The Wolff man is going to eat you all", and of course the seminal "Come back to me my lovely V10".
For full effect the album should be played at full volume, and left on repeat for ever......


It seems Sebee is a better artist 🙂


Alan, he definitely has a more vivid imagination than me, who else could come up with so many weird and wonderful theories!? I didn't spend very long on the titles to be honest, I just wanted to get the "repeat forever" gag in at the end.


When Formula 1 has so many structural flaws in it in this pseudo competition, my album never loses relevance. "I need a fix" is to F1 what "DSOTM" is to life!


AlanF1, see what I mean....


Every country has huge F1 following. Max has just given the Dutches a reason to follow a driver. I'm 100% sure that the PU failure is unpredictable and of course the crazy penalty system is under review. Liberty so far has been able to acknowledge a lot of issues that Bernie ignored for a decade. It hasn't been that long since Liberty has taken over. They are trying to deal with what's in place at the moment. So far everything they said make sense. Of course the battle up front could be much better. But we all know major overhaul doesn't happen overnight in F1. The biggest test would be 2021 with the changes in technical regulation and renegotiation of the revenue distribution.


Dutch are Dutch, unique, think about their country, fenomenal individuals. Best of fans too.


exactly. they just go to the race now


@ FZ...What really irks me is that we are faced with another three years of this rubbish. I fail to see why it would take so long. It should be two years at the very most. With all the best designers in the motoring world and facilities to match they should be able to do that easily. I'd not be surprised if the major three had already started to work out the possible permutaions etc etc etc and be ready to go at a minutes notice. The proposal is already looking at V6 config and the new unit will have less complex components...that is a subtractive process not additive meaning brand new design elements are not necessarily having to be created.


@Ken it's all to do with cost I'd assume. Investing in new regulations every 2 years would be too expensive for smaller teams. Plus it doesn't give the others much time to catch up to the front runners. I'm personally ok with 3 years. Mercedes was able to invest in the new generation technology years before the other teams. They recruited the right people, spent in the right area. That's why they are where they are today. In 2021 the rules are expected to change just as dramatically based on a recent Zac Brown interview I was reading. So the teams will have enough time to invest like Mercedes did. So, I'm hoping that the races will be bit more exciting from there on. In the meantime, Ferrari has at least closed the gap enough to Mercedes to keep the next three years intriguing.


@ FormulaZ... I 'm not sure that i follow. "every two years'? The current regs are running for 7 years! The fact is that over that time, anytime really, i know of no lesser team hitting the jackpot with a radically new take that elevates them anywhere near the top. Given the sheer scope of the facilities available to Mercedes and to a lesser degree Ferrari i can't see their hegemony being challenged. Unless a couple of independents entering into "joint ventures' with say Maclaren/Red Bull etc can bring the new units into play on a much more level playground. Maybe they need to look at the Mercedes business model and even acquire an independent. It's just, for me that is, rather depressing to think that two teams will continue to run in such a dominate fashion for the remainder of the current regs.


@Ken I was referring to your frustration about why wait 3 years comment. This year the rules have evolved quite a bit compared to the past few years. Of course the engine rule haven't changed enough to give the mid field teams or even top teams like RBR and McLaren to catch up the top 2. But I think the rules have given RB and McLaren enough opportunity to close the gap. Unfortunately it is Renault and Honda that let those two teams down. I'm in support of major technical changes every three years to stop one team domination. And yes, I agree about giving independent manufacturers an opportunity to supply engine in F1. I suggest give any independent engine supplier full technical freedom before entering F1 and the entire first year without any penalties. That way they have enough time to understand F1, learn the new generation engines to catch up to the front runners.


@ Despite the latest changes nothing much has alterd at all. Mercedes are still winning and Ferrari are coming second. Same old same old.


Yes Kenneth, RIVETING! Whilst some tracks are seeing marginal increases in attendance the viewing figures continue to drop.


I'm happy to see that the foundational circuits are getting their voices heard, loud and clear. They add a human element which is what all sport should be made of. Tracks like Silverstone , Monza , Suzuka and Spa are not just about legacy or heritage; they are alive and you can feel it even through the screens that most of us watch them on.
However, i can't wait for the day F1 becomes a truly international sport -and i don't mean those impotent Tilke tracks littered all over the rest of the world that come and go like some fickle cloud cover- but for the day when it feels like the whole world participates in it, visibly and fervently. Not like an "Indian" team that is pretty much an English team owned by a flamboyant indian, or some Malaysian airlines owner or some oligarch looking to grab on to some positive branding...but with manufacturers and privateers based in the opposing corners of the world who will -hopefully, one day- come together every other weekend and battle it out with the best of technology and the best of the drivers in tracks that truly represent the rich heritage of the culture they are based in and ones that bleeds the spirit of F1. Right now that is only possible in western Europe, and Interlagos and Suzuka, but nowhere else.
Maybe the next track that will earn the legacy will be Singapore. It wont happen in a jiffy, it'll take many years, decades to establish itself as a place of historic significance. Legacies take ages to build and F1 should play the slow and steady game of building itself organically , all over the world.

I can't wait for tracks like Singapore


i don't see what everyone's on about. like anything, the more experience you have, the better you are at doing anything. so what's the big deal? it's like saying coulthard webber and button shouldn't have retired because they had such a following.


you're right. i am not harking for a return to the "good old days". I'm all for expansion to new areas of the world. I don't think it is wise for F1 to remain a euro-centric sport and i don't think reurning to "glory" tracks are going to make F1 more popular or entertaining. However, i think f1 has expanded to new places like china, delhi, baku, bahrain, turkey rather recklessly. It's not about just building some billion dollar , f1-specialist track and running a race there and expecting everyone to get on board. It's about engaging people more sincerely : something that has been lacking in f1 in many of the new circuits.
So when this expansion is done poorly and is deemed a failure, people revert to believing that the old circuits are a better place to be. I think the better place to be is where the expansion is done right. For me, Singapore was an expansion done right.

This won't "fix" everything in f1, Personally, i don't think a lot of things need to be "fixed". But it's a good start and the right direction to explore.


On that sort of note, I was watching a BBC programme the other day about Hong Kong. Nothing related to motor sport in HK, but just across the Pearl River is of course Macau, which of course has a truly fantastic road racing course threading it's way around the old Portuguese colony.

I've always thought the Macau street circuit is extraordinary, tighter and narrower than David Coulthard's trousers (DC won in 1991), and yet featuring sections of incredibly long straights where a Formula 1 car could reach over 220 MPH! Here's an onboard of the circuit, imagine a grand prix car piloted by Hamilton or Alonso threading their way through the streets of Macau:


Macau is what a street circuit should be. It's one of the last great racetracks left, it truely is something special.

Completely unfit for F1, which is a bloody shame. For F1 to race at Macau, the FIA would destroy the integrity of the the circuit. Furthermore, I don't think F1 cars are designed well enough to navigate all of Macau's challenges.

It's a pipe dream, like Bathurst, Leguna Seca, Nordeschlief, etc.

I actually think it's quite funny that "the best racecars in the world" are incapable of racing on the world's best circuits.


Macau definitely qualifies as a classic track. The Macau GP may not be an F1 GP but it's a classic race.


Macau looks interesting, some of Monaco with a bit of Azerbaijan.

Watched the Indy race at Watkins Glen and it also looked like a fun and entertaining circuit to watch. Too bad it's so far away.


Wow! Wore me out, just one lap. I particularly like all the huge run off areas that are obviously so essential nowadays.........


Unfortunately, the previously great corners on those classic tracks (e.g. old bus stop at Spa, Rettifilio double chicane at Monza) have now been neutered to the point that they're practically no different from the ones at Abu Dhabi.

I remember the 95 Belgian GP, early on during the race there was an onboard view from Schumacher's car, Jonathan Palmer commented that the engine note suggested he was flat out through Blanchimont. A lap later they had an onboard from Irvine's Jordan (the car ahead of MSC), Palmer commented that Irvine ever so slightly feathered off the throttle at Blanchimont. The very next camera shot was MSC diving out of the little right-hand jink before the old bus stop, for a pass up the inside on Irvine. That was a classic moment.

Now, we just have wide, paved runoffs areas and escape roads on those old classic corners, looking like arbitrarily-created corners in a parking lot.


I'm not a fan of neutering circuits, but as far as circuit changes go, the new Bus Stop doesn't bother me, I quite like it.

Uphill breaking zone so you can be super late. The chicane itself lies on very weirdly shaped ground, it goes uphill quite steeply after the first apex, the second apex is a bit blind. It's not just another flat chicane like at Monza, or the junk chicane in the last sector at Nurburgring.

The track is wide enough that both inside moves and outside moves possible. Someone going around the outside of the first apex, then have the inside for the second is one of my favorite overtakes to watch.


I miss the old Hockenheim


Nurburgring, Imola Magny Course all are better than Bahrain and Abu Dhabi type tracks.


It was glorious...that track was one of the reasons I fell in love with F1.


Remove every single tilke drome from the calendar and you get an exciting calendar full of classic tracks that reward both drivers and fans.

The classic tracks are all unique, dangerous, follow the terrain with lots of ups and downs, and all reward driver skill.


I've always been a fan of circuits that look like they go somewhere interesting, rather than just across a paddock and back again.


There's a track not far from where I live, designed by Jacques Villeneuve. On their website, there's a quote from him very similar. Something along the lines of enjoying tracks that give you a feeling like you're going on a journey somewhere - to keep the spirit of the old circuits alive, where you actually did go from town to town.


Having recently watched Indycar from Road America and Watkins Glen, it would be great to see F1 at these classic circuits (infrastructure issues aside).


And at Road America, they could eat bratwurst! I would love to see F1 at this track. You could meet the drivers and watch the pit crews. And road tracks need hills and trees. Don't know if F1 would like the long straights at Road America - they could always put in some creative curves, not a small right/left they put on most F1 tracks to shorten straights. The casual nature would be perfect for F1.


Indy, with their F-1 configuration is the only track where you can sit in the stands, protected from the weather and view the entire race. Plus, if we added Watkins Glen and Indy back into the mix with COTA, the U.S. "swing" with Mexico and Brazil could provide a magnificent opportunity for fans of the New World to rally and enjoy what might become even better racing if Ross and Co., get it right down the road.


I actually find Formula 1 snobby on this point.

They're not willing to make compromises and be humble on the hosting facility just to go somewhere special. Everything has to be 5 stars, diamonds and princesses.

When a person acts like that you called them spoiled brats, don't you?


Bernie created that image. There are too much arrogance around F1 lately.


5 stars, diamonds and princesses? Or just


Well the biggest complaint about Imola is that the paddock is too small (solution, being less motorhomes...)

How much money did the Brazillian government have to fork over to build new pit facilities because the old ones were, well, old.

Montreal Is being forced to completely redo the paddock area, again because it's "old".

What was wrong with the old pit lane at Silverstone?


Wasn't some of that down to Bernie? Didn't he complain a fair bit about the old pits at Silverstone to name but one. And I suspect monst viewers of the race didn't really give how the pits looked much thought.


"I’ve never understood how F1 under Bernie Ecclestone could reward the F1 teams so generously for being part of the history of the sport, especially Ferrari, when there was no value seemingly apportioned to the history that Monza or Silverstone bring to F1."

Look up the word 'greed' in the dictionary. Next to it will be BE's photo.


100% in agreement with Liberty and you James (forza Ferrari!)


Unfortunately, one of America's classic tracks is all but forgotten by the FIA and that's Watkins Glenn. It never failed to draw a crowd.


Most Americans don't embrace any sport except American sport. That has been the case for decade. F1 doesn't need America at all. In fact it's better without USA in my view. America has proven over and over that they don't have friends, they don't want friends either, they only have enemies. So, I'm ok with not having any races in America at all personally. It didn't matter when the US GP was pulled from the calendar before, it won't matter in the future either no matter what track it is.


I think you have a pretty narrow vision regarding America. As a matter of fact, I find it incredibly insulting. There are a ton of people in the States that follow F1. Otherwise the sports channels wouldn't cover it. As for only having enemies, how's the loving relationship between Brexit England and the rest of Europe? I suppose you don't have anything against countries like Russia, China, and Abu Dhabi-all three lead by oppressive and corrupt leaders and sport policies that are antithetical to the basic principles of democracy. Oh, well, it's funny somebody is hating on American claiming that America hates on everybody else when the truth of the matter is that you are just showing us all a glimpse of your sad pathology.


My comments are on the context of F1 as a sport, yours is 100% political. What I think about Stay on topic mate. And I quote your phrase, "I suppose". Please don't predict things without evidence. What I think about the political situation of those countries you did mention and many more you didn't are a bit out of lot people's academic intellect my friend. So, I'll give you chance to reword your comments in the context of F1. The. We will have something to debate about.


I'd love to see the revenue vs costs for every GP. Number tickets x Average price, minus the costs for putting it on. Silverstone according to this had almost double Monza's ticket numbers.... What are the average ticket prices, and what are their costs?

On a more worrying note, Sean Bratches is actually beginning to worry me. A quote on another website today...

"I think there's some inherent wind behind our sails in Monza," said Bratches.

"But our intention is to create an overlay for our promoters, to help them activate"

I have never found anyone who resorts to talking such latest management fad twaddle to be capable of actually achieving anything. Maybe I should "get with the program", and "do some blue sky thinking" though.


@ PaulD....just how right you are. I have just finished reading another of Bratches' interviews and i had to read it twice, however, i'm still not at all clear what he's chattering on about.


"But our intention is to create an overlay for our promoters, to help them activate" - what the bejesus does that even mean!?

This particular brand of Liberty corporate-speak is grating, with Carey and Bratches seemingly battling for buszzword-bingo honors.

The press conference the three top-dogs held a few races back made almost no sense until Brawn started talking.

I fully appreciate that Liberty are in this endeavor to make money, but everything I hear from them is thinly veiled (or explicitly stated) to extract more revenue from the fans.

This constant need to 'monetize' is going to narrow the availability of channels that we the fans


Shaping up some plans to visit a couple of Grand Prix next year, and it will be the first for me since Nurburgring '06 (when I was at the age of 12). For very obvious reasons stated in this article, I sure as hell will not visit a track like Bahrain

There are a couple on my list for the next two years: Silverstone, Spa and Monza next year, and then I'll try to visit Melbourne and Montreal in 2019.

So yes, classic venues are important to F1, and I would love to experience that feeling of being at an exciting Grand Prix again.


Nice - So how about letting us watch the races on our classic TVs?


What percentage of F1's income do the track fees bring in? I can't imagine it being anything compared to the TV money.

If I am correct with that statement -- and it is a big if -- then I can't understand loading the calendar with some of the more soulless circuits. Surely that hurts the TV spectacle which in turn would hurt the TV revenue.

Wouldn't F1 be financial better off by giving the fans what they want: more classic tracks on the calendar. Even if that means reducing fees (and in some cases, heavily) to get tracks on the calendar that draw the TV crowd.

For example, from a Premier League football club's perspective, filling the stadium is largely unimportant because of how rich the TV money makes them. It's a slightly different situation, of course, but it just highlights how rich TV money makes sports.


It's around $600m so roughly a third. But it's one with growth potential if you add races


@ James OT... i seem to be having a small problem whereby responses are not appearing in my inbox as they always did! Could yu possibly have a look at it.


We are on the case

It's down to a reset on the server


The revenue from tracks fees are peanuts compared to licensing, merchandise and TV. F1 is still thinking like its 1985


Be kind and considerate to the fans, Mr. Carey.


Don't worry, look at his moustache, not everybody has the balls for it. This guy is marking his territory, we are for many good things ahead, the trio is impressive.


Interesting figures, it makes you wonder why when they design these new tracks why they cant instill the ingredients of the classic old tracks, is it health and safety gone mad, or do we just have the wrong people doing it ?


Words are cheap however lets hope Carey puts his money where his mouth is and brings back a track like Imola.


I would love to go back there

But it's not likely


Well that's the real catch really isn't it. That is a race with a guaranteed sell out crowd and incredible atmosphere and a circuit that has been largely modernised (although it may lack the fancy media centres), but F1 seems incapable of making it work, despite the incredible history behind the venue.

It would be like the Tennis tour ditching Wimbledon because the venue isn't as swanky as the latest venues out in Dubai.

I think it's time F1 moved to some kind of grand slam system for these venues because it is clear that the fans an TV audiences value these a lot more than the latest middle eastern venture.


James do you mind me asking as to the reasons why you believe that could be the case?
The circuit has undergone renovations over recent years and does hold the required license to hold Formula One races. Plus wasn't the circuit in line to hold the Italian GP if Monza had been unable to secure a new contract?
As for having two GP's in Italy well just badge it as the San Marino Grand Prix as it was many years ago or even the European GP.


@ Sars...You've been AWOL....punishable offence. Penalty 100 lines! Make up the content.


You know what its like Kenneth. Sometimes you need to take a break from the children and recharge the batteries;)

My 100 penalty lines shall be;

"I promise to rec one of Aveli's comments before I die"!


Then welcome back sars👍


Thanks James I appreciate your kind words. Hows the rankings looking? I was unable to put my predictions in for Monza so I imagine there has been a shake up or two in the standings. I'm not game to look:)


@ Sars...good to see you back with a 'new energy store' and no post [grid] penalties haha. I tried not to be provocative with the penalty lines on the blackboard but it did cross my mind that something like this would've been [ in ] appropriate, how about,

"C63 is never wrong about anything and neither is his shadow' What do you think......?


Lol all the components of the power unit have been changed so I imagine I'm starting from grid position 235 now.
Your penalty line is interesting and I would be surprised if it didn't invoke a response from the great man himself.....


The paddock is too small and can't be enlarged as there is a river behind..

So it needs quite a spend to fix that

Also Automobile Club Italy is key to funding etc and they back Monza 100%


Case in point, Sky F1.

How many paddock passes does the Sky F1 broadcast team get for a GP?

Cowell, Crofty, Brundle, De Resta, Davidson, Herbert, Hill, Kravitz, blonde lady, brunet lady (sorry I genuinely forget their names ATM)

That's 10, TEN!!!!, talking heads from one single broadcast team. Is every single one of them necessary? Do they really contribute that much to the spectacle? Does their presence on a GP weekend offset the fact that F1 can no longer race at one of its most storied, and hollowed grounds, with one of the most passionate fan bases, because "the paddock is too small."

The paddock is too small because F1 has waaaaay too many clingers-on. Time to trim downthe excess fat, streamline the operation, and put the focus on racing the "best cars in the world" on the best tracks in the world.

Imola, Nordeschleif, Macau, Mount Panorama Bathurst, Daytona, Sebring, Brands Hatch, Donnington, Road America, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen. These are the best tracks left in the world, full stop. But they're either not fancy enough, or F1 engineers in the 21st century can't seem to figure out how to build a car which can navigate the challenges presented by these legendary circuits.


Just the mention of some of those tracks Twitch makes my pulse race. Imagine seeing these cars flying across the top of the mountain at Bathurst, dipping down through the Esses before plunging into Forest Elbow on the journey down the straight to The Chase. That would be spine tingling!


I just remembered, there's that Craig guy too, Mr Trenchcoat. So that makes 11 talking heads to cover 1 GP.


Is the paddock at Imola smaller than Monaco?


PINKS!!! Of course, how could I forget. After the masterpiece of broadcasting that was her legendary bicycle race against JB, how on earth could I forget her name. Shame on me.

Thanks for reminding me though.

Side note, I'm not trying not to have a go at you personally here James (same with the Sky team, with whom I'm sure you're friends. Nothing against them as people, just using them as an example).

However, you did state here that it is unlikely that F1 will ever return to Imola, because of the overly complex problem that F1 has too much stuff.

So, as a known journalist with access to the F1 paddock (something I don't have), perhaps you could work some magic to have someone placed in front of a microphone who can answer questions like, "why can't F1 slim down it's opporation so as to make it possible to visit venues who have smaller pit facilities again?"

Every time discussion about tracks get brought up, someone mentions Imola. Fans want it back. No one ever mentions Paul Richard, but we're getting it back.

Paul Richard currently has no grandstands for the public. With the possibility of 3 French drivers (and a Monogasque) being on the grid for 2018 and the return of the French GP, I anxiously await to see what the organizers have waiting for all the people who decide to go to Paul Richard.

No grandstands? No big deal. Just make some temporary stands, line up a bunch of blue rockets (complete with river of piss), and that's good enough for the fans.

The paddock on the other hand, that needs to be 5 star, no less. Every single paddock pass holder and their 2 assistants must have a designated spot to put their double dry non fat charamel macchiato. Anything less just simply can't cut it for F1 in the 21st century.


I was never that bothered about Imola, no overtaking and too tight. I prefer the faster flowing circuits.


Couldn't F1 downsize its paddock? Maybe bring 1 or 2 motorhomes instead of 3?

Maybe find a way to change tires with less than 22 people?

Is it the PUs and all the support systems they need that cause the paddock to be so massive?

Or is it that F1 now is so much more popular than it was in Schumi's day that simply the growth of interests and attendance would pack the Imola paddock burst at the seams?

Again, for some of the supposed "best engineers in the world," these people sure do get stumped by some extremely simple problems.

It's like, if you have a carry-on bag that won't fit in the overhead storage, someone doesn't need to go out and design a new aeroplane that your bag will fit in. You simply need to pack less stuff!


I see James. I was aware the river impacted the ability to remodel Tamburello however I didn't realise any renovations to the pit-lane were also impacted by it.
Its a shame as the track has a a flow matched only by Suzuka in my opinion. Also its history and the fact it was home to the events that forever changed F1 in 94, gives it an aura that not many of the current circuits possess and I feel saddened to see its continued absence form the current calendar.
Oh well, you never know what the future holds, right?


More's the pity. I always liked it when the European season was bookended by Imola around Easter time, with the waft of spaghetti with tomatoes in the Spring air of Romagna, and finish off with Estoril in late September, the Atlantic westerlies blowing across the pit straight and the smell of smoked crab and lobster from nearby Cascais permeating the paddock........


Beautifully said, if you don't glaze it, you have been a lucky guy...


Ready that almost brings a tear to the eye actually.

We have lost so much of what made F1 truly special IMO


Gaz, now I'm jealous and hungry...


I agree 100%
That's how it was when I started in 1990

Loved it

Tornillo Amarillo

Buenos Aires is also and again on the radar, where Fangio is from.

And obviously Hamilton wants to win in Paul-Ricard.


@ TA...If the Red Bull is anywhere near decent next year and DR can snatch a win then the circuit name should be corrected to read 'Paul - Ricciardo. Now wouldn't that be something.....


We have been to Barcelona, Silverstone and Spa this year, and the biggest disappointment was Spa.
Having previously been several years ago we opted to get general admission bronze tickets and walk about and explore. However we found it very overcrowded on many of the pathways ( with date stamps in the concrete from 1980) and general admission viewing areas. The early bird catches the worm and all that - but there was no way we were going into the track at 5-6am just to try and get a half decent view of the track.
The food stalls were awful and overpriced - many using the token system instead of cash so you have to que twice.
The worse bit was walking down from the top of Eau Rouge to the fan zone at the end of the race, where 2 separate urinals were overflowing and running down the paths past the food stalls and into the stream. There was no way of getting past without 'paddling' through it. It took the edge of a great weekend, a entertaining if not memorable race but a fantastic result for Hamilton.
These old tracks are indeed the backbone of the sport, but Liberty needs to make sure that the tracks invest in making the venues worthy for the fans attending on the day.


Exact same races we went to this year!


funny how silverstone receive the most visitors and yet claim to be broke while the others plod on.
why can't they just be honest and state the number of spectators on race day?


Dont look at the number of visitors. You need to look at the cost per visitor. I dont know the costs at Silverstone or Monza but I heard Monza is much smaller in terms of capacity..that's why the big difference in totals.


Well it depends on the hosting fee each circuit has to pay. And it's not always a simple case of increasing ticket prices.

Didn't we lose Spa one year because of the hosting fee? What about Germany didn't that also drop off one year because of the hosting fee?


The numbers are there, the problem though is hosting f1 at silverstone (without government backing) by a private members club, with health and safely, all the other expenses is not going to be cheap is it. A sport that generates billions a year should be able to keep it most popual and historic tracks profitable and in business instead of dregging the barrel all the time.

ps. i do not believe any public money should be given to it either.


Why should a government subsidise FOM as that is what would happen if governments, as some do, subsidise a circuit?

If the costs are too high for the income perhaps the prices needed to meet the rights holder's fees as well as those fees themselves are the problem not the lack of taxpayer subsidy.

Cash gouging from the Ecclestone era has done some serious damage.


did someone not die racing in a classic f1 race?
I'd rather the tracks are safer and up to date. if it means shutting it down, so be it.


Tracks can be improved, you know...And of course people died on the classic circuits, that was were all this thing started, were F1 gained experience, where do you suppose they should have died, on the new tracks?
With time comes experience, and if you take a look how many people died in F1 it the last 25 years, it wasn't for some bad design of tracks - just human error, negligence, or overcommitment. Classic has nothing to do with it.


In the history of the sport several drivers have died at what we would consider classic tracks and since 1994 safety in F1 has come on a lot. You can never elimante the risk of a driver death all you can do is minimise it. Even the "classic" tracks have gotten safer but not always at the cost of the race the track creates,


.. ok Austria is not a classic anymore, but crowd was also very good this year again.
(ok .. lots of verstappen fans ..)


I once read some ppl made the comments here that how the race in Shanghai should be removed. I jst lmao. 345000 ppl visited silverstone over 4 days, yes right that number doesnt even get close to how many ppl visit a local shopping complex to a medium sized city in China. And guess most of the "outsiders" do not really appreciate how rich chinese spend money, then i suggest you to read reports from disney in shanghai.
My point really is, china is where the next monaco, silverstone and spa. Macau has a terrific street track, northpart of china offers just as spectacular landscape as of spa and im sure they can establish a few nice tracks around china easily enough.
Have at least another 1 or 2 races in China will boost up F1 revenue a big time. F1 management need to drop off their hat and do promote the chinese market as soon as they possibly can.


Kevin, haven't you noticed the covered over viewing stands all around the back of the Chinese circuit? They can't fill one race, let alone several.


I very much doubt that the bulk of F1 TV viewers are influenced majorly by circuit per se. They really want to see the best racing ever despite the location. However, if that race is ,say, Monaco/Spa then yes, it becomes an important factor as an overall component in the enjoyment spectrum. If circuits are hurting financially and they are nearing max capacity then the only way forward is to milk the spectators who already is slugged ridiculous prices! The clear answer is to somehow change the model and open up a digital presence to the hordes who cannot access cable/satellite pay services. Surely a sensible price structure would bring massive increases to revenue. It can be done and it can be done quickly. The other component is to open up the series to better racing and we all know what has to be done there. On a final note, not all Tilke designed and built circuits are bad. As an example i would nominate COTA as being one of the best of the year...rather like Spa without the forests! It get my vote every year, it has a bit of everything.


It is difficult to quantify what percentage of the the viewers are drawn to the sport due to the history of any track. Monaco is an interesting track. From racing and strategy point of view it is one of the most boring races on the calendar. On the other hand, the drivers abilities are tested to its maximum limit on Monaco. But this is one of the races that most people want to attend. Maybe because of the glitz ans glamour of the country more so than the track. I personally still look forward to watching Monza or Silverstone or Spa more than something like Bahrain or Abu Dhabi. It seems a lot of readers in this blog are on the same page as well. But yes, racing is always the number one reason for anyone to tune in.


@ FZ...strangely Monza doesn't really do it for me. I do love circuits that throw up serious technical driving challenges combined with many different elevation changes. Monza is IMO, less challenging and more of a 'car' track and not really a 'car and driver' track. I must be the odd one out.


kenneth, I agree F1 needs to open the digital doors. The problem is that F1 has contracts with both open to air and cable networks for coverage; there would be a pretty hostile bunch of TV people if F1 went digital and undercut the TV contracts. This is a big issue and not easily resolved.

F1 would really help promote itself if it allowed some of its footage to be shown on youtube; that could only generate interest and increase the viewing audience. It amazes me that circuit promoters can't use video or other F1 intellectual property to promote their races. That's plain nuts.


@ Steve H...You make some good points. I don't see why Liberty cannot sit down with the cable/satellite companies and work out a deal whereby the broadcasters become part of the digital process as well. There are many ways to split the process.


If you look on YouTube there's actually quite a lot of F1 stuff about the previous weekend's race up quite quickly. I subscribe to Autosport online, and lots of working links to YouTube in Ipad version of Autosport magazine to F1, Indycar, WRC, etc too. Things are improving, it's not live, but non-Sky/paywall people can now see stuff that was removed due to copyright infringement before. I assume it's Liberty who've freed this up. They'll want to monetise this in the future of course, hopefully they can do it via adverts rather than subscriptions.


I would tend to agree COTA is one of the better "Tilkedromes".


Sepang was up there too!


Um...rebuild the forest section at Hockenheim?


You also have several other tracks world wide that are nearing the classic category. I would say that Suzuka is there. Montreal and Albert Park/Melbourne are getting real close, as much for the atmosphere, those two are special. Both have produced many classic races, too. And also Interlagos. These make it a truely international championship, and show the world-wide passion and flavors beyond what Europe can do. Suzuka has the most awesome hats every year. Montreal is just a huge celebration and party. Aussies just make you feel at home and want to have a beer with you. Interlagos and Brazil have a unique passion for life and racing. All have been there for decades, and we haven't even discussed all the classic races at each venue. Familiar tracks also give us a point of reference to the past and let us see how things have changed and grown. Lets give them a chance to join as full fledged classics with 20+ more years at each!


Brazil too


Hi JAonF1
Also worth noting is that these classic tracks Monaco aside, all feature good passing opportunities both with and without DRS.


I always miss Hungary from the lists of "classic circuits". 32 GP-s since 1986...


Silverstone Spa Monza Rules (including japan and Canada )
Monaco still is a rich man's trouser pocket.
I know it's where F1 business takes place.
Old Money and New Money and Celebs mingle and the majority of Plebs (we the F1 fans) watch on tv or listen on radio. It's too expensive unless you travel via France for the day.
But Monaco should be treated like the Olympics. Once every 4 years.
Have a guest street/race circui each year for 3 years instead .
The newer tracks in the schedule especially the middle eastern ones are dull as dishwater.
Heritage tracks are where the *Wild Things rock (*spectators). That's where you find F1s Soul .


can anyone explain why silverstone has the most attendance, the most expensive tickets and yet say they can't afford to stage a race?


It's obviously that the hosting fee is the main culprit!


It is great that these classic venues have performed so well this year, but Silverstone has remained well attended throughout Hamilton's career, Spa is surging with Verstappen's rise and Monza had a Ferrari driver leading the championship for the first time in several years right up until the moment the chequered flag waved. At least Liberty are seeing the better side of F1 this year and the point in the article that they are expressing support for these circuits is a breath of fresh air. Hopefully that will ultimately result in a new contract for Silverstone too.


I would like to know without sounding sarcastic "what defines a classic F1 circuit?" and at what point did they become classic.


I've been to quite a few different F1 circuits and I find that their 'greatness' can be measured in two ways - quality of the actual track/racing and the atmosphere. Tracks like Silverstone and Spa are classic racing circuits and the atmosphere is always good. Somewhere like Barcelona may not provide such exciting racing but the atmosphere is generally good (especially in the days when Alonso was in a competitive car). One of my all time favourite tracks is the Hungaroring - you can see a lot of the track from any given vantage point, the weather is usually hot and sunny and the atmosphere is fantastic. I was there again last year and it was disappointing to see that there were less bars/food outlets outside the track. This would suggest that the Hungarian GP hasn't been as well attended in the past couple of years.


If it was down to me, and not everyone is going to have the same tastes, I'd do the following (not all currently realistic for a variety of reasons!):

Keep at all costs:

Montreal, Silverstone, Spa, Monaco, Monza, Singapore, Suzuka, Austin, Interlagos.

Bin as soon as possible:

Bahrain, China, Abu Dhabi, Sochi, Malaysia (disappearing anyway).

Bring back:

Estoril, Imola, Adelaide, Istanbul.

The rest I'm ambivalent about, could take them or leave them.


Singapore as a venue is ok, but the circuit is balls. It's worse that an Indycar circuit from the 90s. The original Tilke design, run clockwise as opposed to anti-clockwise, with a high speed blast along the harbour, instead of the Micky mouse chicanes under the grandstands, was a far superior circuit layout.

Austin? Really? Each to their own I guess. I'd much rather see Watkins Glen or Road America, but, the Texas Parking Lot it is.

Malaysia is a fanstastic circuit, its a shame we'll loose it. For a modern circuit, it has character and challenge deserving of being on the F1 calander.

I don't think Adelaide is possible anymore. The V8SC series run a shortened version of the original GP layout, lap times would be too low for F1 standards. Changes to the layout of the city prevent the original GP layout from being built again.


There's nothing stopping the original Adelaide layout from being used again.

The V8 Supercar race (The Clipsal 500) uses a shortened version of the track simply to reduce costs - the reduction of the northern loop of the circuit requires less barriers & fencing etc to be set-up and leaves open a number of more important thoroughfares in that part of the city.


I like Austin, though maybe "keep at all costs" is a bit strong for that one. I'd rather a street race in Detroit or Vegas again personally, but I can't see that happening. Adelaide is a pipe dream I know, I just have very fond memories of it!


Some good suggestions. I'd keep Bahrain, China and Malaysia as the tracks are pretty good. I'd be happy to see the demise of Abu Dhabi and Sochi.


I hate the fact you can just run off the first chicane at Monza without much penalty.

There's no bravery needed in the braking zones now.


I've been to all the classic tracks bar Monaco after visiting Monza last weekend and I can concur. The Italians are a delightful and happy bunch though queuing isn't perhaps their forte. I sat amongst them on Parabolica and Lewis got as good a round of applause as anyone. Maybe the kids who rush the start finish straight afterwards boo but there was no animosity in it, that I could read.

Part of Monza's magic is the setting, in amongst the trees with (my) campsite right on the 1st chicane. The best tracks, I think, have a certain element of hardcore, 4 days in the woods eating out of cans about them. Hockenheim has lost a great deal of its magic since the old blast through the trees and beer drinking campers was gotten rid of.


Every year F1 should have a one off 24hr endurance race. The two main drivers (if they want to drive) with two other test/young drivers.

Have it at Spa, the NurbF1 or Silverstone.


when the v6 regulations were introduced all the teams agreed to the token and engine penalty the poorly performed teams have complained and managed to get the fia to scrap the token system, allowing teams to spend as the wish. they are now calling for the engine penalties to also be scrapped so that they can spend further.
the fia must be either stupid or spineless. the idea behind those rules was to prevent spending from spiralling into infonity.
i just don't get the logic behind those calling for a change. the rules are the same for everyone so let them get on with it.
looks like everybody wants to run the fia. i thought there is a elected president with a council of officials to run motorsport. those who are asking for a change should campaign for elections to get themselves in the position to bring about changes. i don't like the idea of everybody agreeing to a set of rules only for some to ask for the rules to be changed to favour them. that's not right jean tod. pitbtjose tokens back on. getting rid of them has done nothing to help honda and now everyone things they can ask for the rest of the rules to be changed..


Very appropriate to learn, James. Thanks for the perspective and the overview of what might come to be. Positive indeed.

Particularly relevant observations in the narrative include: ". . .I’ve never understood how F1. . .could reward the F1 teams so generously for being part of the history of the sport, . . . when there was no value seemingly apportioned to the history that Monza or Silverstone bring to F1.

And: "When I interviewed Carey back in April I asked him whether it was a priority to ensure that those “classic” races are properly sustainable and part of the ongoing fabric of the sport? . . . “Very much so,” he replied.

Let's hope that the third leg of the stool to gain attention, after the Teams and the Tracks, will be the fans themselves and the opportunities for attendance from local fans can be assured. That would focus on "affordable pricing for families and working folks in order to build on the world-wide base. Seems that would be a critical piece of the puzzle when considering how "rewards" are distributed.


The issue of giving something back to the fans seems to have been a fairly common thought, in reading through posts this morning. Let's hope it happens in some ways, and more fundamentally than adding concerts to the program.


Watkins Glen.

As I have said before, Bernie's removal of F1 from the Glen, chasing Sunbelt boom dollars across the country in Dallas, Las Vegas and Phoenix, prefigured the proliferation of desert Tilkedromes. Exactly the same pattern- tradition and passion be damned.

F1 should go back to the Glen. Forget NYC. Put it where it belongs. If Chase Carey and company "get" Monza, Spa, Silverstone; if they now appreciate that history and tradition are important, then get back to the Glen. I know it's not "Grade 1," but from what I can tell that's not a safety issue. Surely if the track is safe enough for Indycar, it's safe enough for F1.


Charlie visited the Glen last year and gave the circuit a thumbs up. The main issue is the Paddock (not fancy enough for F1), and the rest of the infrastructure to support the crowds.

It's a brilliant opportunity for F1 though, it'd be a shame for them to miss it.

Indycar and IMSA have started to get a very good thing going with many of their events, making them family camping destinations year on year. Tracks like Sebring, Road America, Road Atlanta, have a great festival atmosphere at them. It's a great way to get new people, young and old, into the sport as well.


Good article. Monza really looks good after the race with the ticker tape, confetti, flares and massive flags around that overhanging podium.

Beyond Spa, Silverstone and Monza...

Does anyone consider Brazil and Suzuka to be classic tracks or just they've provided some classic races?

Also, which of the newest/Tilke tracks would you class as the most 'classic'?


Istanbul was a circuit-design classic. Makes for great wheel to wheel battles over several corners.


Suzuka and Brazil, along with Montreal, I consider classic tracks now.

Of the new ones, Malaysia and Fuji are top of my list, then probably Turkey.


Austin is the most likely to become classic in terms of design but it needs decades of history built up and passionate fans to become a classic.


Definitely classic tracks for me, especially Suzuka. Classic races give a track history. I think the best designed tracks generally become the classics along with tracks that have the best fanbases.


In my view the historic circuits (Imola, Jerez, original Hockenheim & Sau Paulo included) are so valuable IMO that F1 should actually pay them a fee to race at those tracks. Those circuits should receive a royalty payment from the sport.


F1 management can just get a % share of the gate receipts.

That would make those circuits permanently sustainable.

The Indianapolis Circuit is so important to INDYCAR that it nearly destroyed Champcar in the 2000's. The Western European circuits have similar power if they worked together.


A balance of classic and new track is the preferred solution.

New tracks boost with state of the art design and facilities . that is F1.

Classic tracks have irrepressible history. Not to mention the unique atmosphere cannot be copied anywhere else.

For someone to sleep on the tree so to catch the following raceday in Monaco..that is really F1


It has always struck me as ridiculous that there is so much effort focused on ways to make racing more interesting when one after another tracks are built that are dull as dishwater, with the same failed designers employed time and again. Worse, there are decent tracks out there (including those through cities - remember Adelaide?) that languish simply because money talks louder at the bore fest locales. Welcome to F1 ...


Yes - Adelaide is one of the truly great street & F1 circuits. Always put up great races & overall season ending carnival.


While it's great that the "classic" tracks are doing well, isn't there a danger that we're reading too much into this. It's the first year in ages when there has been a realistic title battle between two teams, one of which in particular has legions of fans ready to crawl out of the woodwork at the slightest hint of success. The real test of progress will be if the numbers hold up after another snooze-fest intra-Mercedes battle for the championship. I hope the increase is "real" (I think Spa is what you'd get if the Almighty decided to build a racetrack) but I'm a bit skeptical at the moment.


Unless something can be done about the travesty of the Sky contract, in 2 years time there will be only a quarter of the fans to go to Silverstone. As a lifetime F1 fan, now a pensioner, I cannot afford Sky's prices. We must have terrestrial coverage back.


Watkins Glen anybody?


James, how do you think liberty are doing. I remember reading earlier in the year you said they have been here a few months now and not a lot has changed. Do you think more has changed now? If so what has changed for better or worse?

From my point of view (watching sky and following the sport) nothing has changed really, I see they have more things for fans at the tracks. But everything else is just words. They have been in control for nearly a year and they are still saying the same things. I know the financial distribution and engine rules cannot be sorted until 2021. I just expected a step change in the sport.


With so many great tracks and with some better design on new ones, F1 could run a series of 3. Europe, Asia, Americas, with drivers competing for the grand slam. 5 or 6 races over a similar number of weekends for each leg. It would save a lot of travelling back and forth.


Not sure how feasible that would be!

But I agree there are a lot of great tracks that don't get used. It would be great if we had a completely mixed up calendar each year with new and different venues.. but I'm sure that would be a total nightmare to organise and finance!


Classic 'em.

Being South African, i am allowed to dream about a return for Kyalami. It won't ever happen due to our currency...1 Dollar/Euro is a squidillion Rands...and politics, but a lad may dream, eh?

Porsche spent a small fortune remodelling the circuit, upgrading facilities etc and i thin it is certified for everything barring F1 - and for that some of the run-off needs to be looked at is all i imagine, as everything else is top notch.

It is great to see circuits like Mexico back, and Paul Ricard next year...the Glen would also be quite something i think, and Estoril.

I miss Estoril almost as much as the late, great Hockenheim (the daddy which blasted into the forest, not the neutered son-of....which we have now)

wait, work to do, let me take off the rose tints.


Surely some reverse-Concord agreement could be arranged, where the more historic tracks are recognized for their unique value to the history of the sport and its continuing popularity. The longer-established Teams get more of a cut from the F1 coffers, so I don't see why the same principle couldnt be applied to the circuits.


Has anyone done the maths to explain why 344500 spectators isnt returning a profit at Silverstone?


It looks more like Monza had half a million on race day alone 😀
I have been on 3 occasions and know very well that many access the race by unconventional means 😉 such is there lust to attend. The official figures will be way off. Brilliant to see though, that the classic tracks are still the best to attend. If I had to recommend one race to visit, Monza would be it. Sure James would agree.

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