2008 F1 calendar ‘more credible’ than 20 years ago?

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I wrote at length about a revealing interview Max Mosley gave recently in which he made this remark:

It’s a far more credible championship [calendar] than it was 20 years ago.

That’s Mosley’s verdict on the modern Formula 1 calendar. Have a look at how the 2008 F1 calendar compares with the 1988 schedule and tell me what you think…

2008 F1 calendar

16th March – Australian Grand Prix – Albert Park, Mebourne
23rd March – Malaysian Grand Prix – Sepang International Circuit
6th April – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
27th April – Spanish Grand Prix – Montmelo, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
11th May – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park
25th May – Monaco Grand Prix – Monte-Carlo
8th June – Canadian Grand Prix – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal
22nd June – French Grand Prix – Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours
6th July – British Grand Prix – Silverstone
20th July – German Grand Prix – Hockenheimring
3rd August – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring
24th August – European Grand Prix – Valencia Street Circuit
7th September – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps
14th September – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza
28th September – Singaporean Grand Prix – Singapore Street Circuit (night race)
12th October – Japanese Grand Prix – Fuji Speedway
19th October – Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai International Circuit
2nd November – Brazilian Grand Prix – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo

1988 F1 calendar

3rd April – Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacarepagua
1st May – San Marino Grand Prix, Imola
15th May – Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
29th May – Mexican Grand Prix, Aut???dromo Hermanos Rodr??guez
12th June – Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
19th June – United States Grand Prix, Detroit
3rd July – French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard
10th July – British Grand Prix, Silverstone
24th July – German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring
7th August – Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring
28th August – Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
11th September – Italian Grand Prix, Monza
25th September – Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril
2nd October – Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez
30th October – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
13th November – Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide

Mosley does have a point when he says that the calendar has a slightly better geographical spread today than 20 years ago.

But look at two of the events missing from the modern calendar – the United States Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix – events in two countries rich in motor racing heritage.

In their place we have events like the Bahrain Grand Prix – held on a glorified kart track in a desert with virtually no crowd. In China, another country with virtually no motor racing tradition, the enormous and soulless Shanghai International Circuit greets the teams.

I’m broadly positive about the new additions to the 2008 calendar. I think F1 needs more variety and the addition of extra street tracks will bring that, and the locations look fantastic. The Abu Dhabi circuit planned for 2009 looks even more special

But Bernie Ecclestone’s approach is always to pick the low-hanging fruit – grabbing fistfuls of cash from countries where the representatives of the people are not as democratically inclined as they might be. I’d rather see him invest some of his time into bringing back races in some of the world’s great motor racing countries – and that means the Americas: the United States, Mexico, and Argentina.

How do you think the 2008 F1 calendar could be improved?

More on the 2008 F1 calendar

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “2008 F1 calendar ‘more credible’ than 20 years ago?”

  1. Drop Bahrain for Abu Dhabi, Drop Malaysia for USA or Mexico.

    China is OK with me. It’s built up its reputation for drama in its last 2 GPs.

    Otherwise, this calendar is perfect. :)

  2. I would drop Hungary, then Bahrain. US should come back.

    I would also drop Fuji and bring Suzuka back (for good, not to alternate).

  3. i am from oz so i’d love the season to open her in melb (i am 45mins from the track) and end in adelaide (which i’d go over there for it)
    also, consider the ’08 calendar with tracks like barcelona, magny cours and it’s easy to see how the calendar can b fixed, also compare the 2 hockenheim layouts and others that have been ruined over the yrs!
    we may have more races but the circuits are now less challenging, even monaco has had walls moved back in places!

  4. There is a limit to the number of races a season can hold, I wonder then if there is any merit to a two year season?

    Sure some tracks are repeated, some are not, but the points continue with development time in between.

    Could add an interesting dimension.

  5. no one can wait for 2 years to see who the new champion would be :-)

  6. Whst’s far less credible about the calendar nowadays is it’s huge reliance on the design and ideas of a single man, Hermann Tilke. People can correct me on this, but I think he’s designed, or at least had a large hand in, the following circuits:

    Malaysia, Bahrain, Turkey, Germany, European (Valencia), Singapore, China and Japan.

    Not to mention the fact he is responsible for the new sector at the “other” European GP at Nurburgring, and is presumably responsible for whatever Abu Dhabi, South Korea, South Africa, India or Antarctica or whoever else is planning to join the calendar soon. It’s practically his world championship now. It’s bad for variety, and most of them are bland and soulless. Maybe this is neccessitated by modern F1, but I refuse to accept that totally. Valencia and Singapore are street tracks and so are hopefully something a bit different from him, but only really Turkey wins any awards for interesting design.

    Surely there’s at least one other person out there who could have a go? A bit of friendly rivalry/competition/development of new ideas could really help F1.

  7. i heard something about a london street race. i think that would be good.

    i no it will never happen but yeah…

  8. “Surely there’s at least one other person out there who could have a go? A bit of friendly rivalry/competition/development of new ideas could really help F1.”

    Yeah, ME! ;) I know it’s far fetched, but one day, just maybe. My background is in civil engineering, and when I get bored with designing roads I sometimes sketch out circuit layouts. All I can say is they are much faster than Tilke’s, and would probably never get FIA approval. :D

    As for Tilke, his involvement in F1 actually extends back to the mid-ninties, when he designed the A1 Ring. And yes, I agree, THAT right there should have been a strong warning of what was to follow…. ;)

    But I agree with what your saying. This monopoly he seems to have on all new designs is frustrating, as I feel his circuit-designing talents are questionable at best. The contract for the design work should be put up for bid, at the very least. But since his designs seem to be popular with Bernie and the FIA, he automatically gets the work from the track owners. Kind if a sad situation, in my opinion.

  9. I’m sorry including street races with plans to reduce engine development and less aerodynamics – equates like alonso someone mving backwards – street races narrow – crashes – safety car laps increase – first qualified – wins race unless crashes into back marker/debris – boring – going to places with low population or low national income – living of the tv revenue – boring – max – bernie – old age pensioners lacking in moral fibre and only intersted in money – we should have F1 in usa and mexico – large centres of population – racing lovers – unfortunately it would make sense and that is sadly lacking in F1 at this moment and for the near future – damn shame when you see some of the new drivers who may lift the fans spirits if he fuddy duddies would allow it – when is mcclarens verdict through – new years day when the press and public are on holiday??

  10. I think some of us are getting confused what Keith’s point might be. It is not all about the track characteristics/layout and who designs them. I think the underlying point is regards to the countries and the towns and cities within that country the calender visits. I have mixed opinions about both 1988 and 2008. Neither are perfect so hence I tend to disagree with Max’s opinion (eeeek I hope he doesn’t file a law case against me).

    In 1988 we visited the USA but it was in Detroit who never really embraced the sport back then. Also on the calender was Portugal, which in my opinion was just there because you could get the Jerez within a week so all the drivers would have tennis holidays and some sun. Brazil back in those days at Jacarepagua tended to be under organised and taken for granted by the Brazilians and lacked investment.

    Forward to 2008 and while the circuits were always going to improve I feel we are visiting countries that add nothing to the credibility of the F1 championship – Bahrain I think everyone has mentioned. Malaysia baffles me as to why we go there, especially now we have Singapore. I would also say time is up for Hungary now – it was important to be there 20 yrs ago but unfortunately not now. My final gripe about 2008 is the continual threat of losing Great Britain and France on the calender. Two of the founding nations of the sport continually undermined by the need to have bigger spaces for corporate guests to allow them to eat their prawn sandwiches. Or perhaps that IS what makes a credible championship nowadays.

  11. I think it was very rude of you to ridicule places like Bahrain and China simply because US and Mexico do not feature in the calendar anymore. The solution for your “problem” lies not in trading venues, but in expanding the calendar so that grand prixs happen all year round.

    I know you all will be saying it is impossible to do that, but if you were to actually put your heads to as much use as you had put your fingers for typing all the rude comments, you would figure out that you would need a team that is bigger so that you can accommodate the employees who need to go on leave. The teams will also need to recruit more than two drivers, have maybe 3 or even 4 drivers per team.

    Anyways, you guys continue with your rude comments and posts, as obviously this comment is not going to make any sense to you.

  12. Harkirat,

    I don’t think the intention was to ridicule places like Bahrain and China, merely stating the clinical, and perhaps more sterile, approach and feeling of racing compared to places of old. The article may strike a point for people who remember 20 years ago in F1 racing, but this is just a discursive piece built around Max Moseley’s words, and not so much as a “problem” as you have put it. Certainly not a “problem” as far as I’m aware at least.

    However, expanding the calender so GPs will go on throughout the year won’t happen for many, several reasons. Making a team bigger, for a start, is something that most teams can’t afford – they have problems just getting through a season with the GPs available and with the team size they have. When teams like Super Aguri have to downsize just to survive, team expansion will most likely pulverize them.

    Money is too big a subject for it to happen.

    Then there’s development time, you need part of the year to focus on off-season testing – teams can’t really focus on racing and developing their next car…again, not without great expense and resources.

    I’d like nothing more to see more GPs, but there is a practical limit to everything. So yeah, I’m saying it’s impossible to do it as far as I know.

  13. In answer to the tilke question. There are two FIA approved track designers. Tilke and a US company. I will see if I can find the article that I read a couple of weeks ago on this subject.

    I was surprised to see someone mentioned along with Herman then it occurred to me. Why does the FIA have to approve a track designer/architect? If I am a billionaire and I hire Norman Foster or anyone to build a track surely the FIA should judge the finished project on its merits without knowing who drew it.

    Why does the FIA have to approve architects?

  14. I agree with Milos that Hungary has perhaps been too long on the calendar , and although I like the track design it isn’t really conducive to good racing action (unless it rains :) ).I’m also not really that keen on the new Hockenheim as although the layout has allowed for some great overtaking moves – there are too many similar moderate speed circuits these days.I’d like to see someone come up with a layout that allows the cars to hit 360kmh and is ridiculously low in downforce but I think these days such speeds might be too much.

    For that matter I suppose Bahrain and China could go too , never liked the latter track since I first saw it.I’d like to see Adelaide and Suzuka back on the calendar too.

  15. Hi people,
    I don’t think it depends only on Bernie. If Argentina, Mexico and USA have problems in investing money to held an F1 race, Ecclestone cannot force them! The fact is that in China, India or Emirates it’s more simple to find money to build tracks and organize races.

  16. I think Barcelona should be dropped or at least it should alternate with Valencia, Spain does not need 2 races. Bring back a race here in the USA! Also maybe Singapore and Malaysia could rotate and then you could have another round rotate between Argentina and Mexico. I look forward to the Abu Dhabi race and I am curious to see what will happen in SK and India, but all I really want is a race in the USA so I at least have an opportunity to go to a race.

  17. c’mon people… who wants to see max mosley leave? or get sacked?(that will never happen)

  18. Could you fix the typo? Australian grand prix is “Melbourne” not “Mebourne” :)

  19. The FIA is allowing night racing in Singapore without even performing a test-run. I think the FIA is putting money, politics & profits above the safety of F1 drivers.

  20. I’m sure there will be some test runs a few months before the race, albeit not with F1 cars, more probably with cars whose headlights are turned off.

    I know a lot of Singaporeans, they are one of the most meticulous and attention-paying people in the world. I’m sure they won’t let the night GP go through if they see any hint of trouble with their lightings.

  21. the thing is these days, if one country struggles to pay for a race, no matter how prestigous it is, bernie will just give it to a new venue!
    for a sport with such a long history, they tend to ignore the past a great deal, they care more for money than anything else to the detriment of the hardcore fan who often misses out yet the corporate who only goes to see how pissed he can get, gets the better view points etc and meet the drivers yet they dont even care in the slightest about the sport, let alone know who the drivers are!

  22. Not every street circuit is as narrow as Monaco (or Macau)… I took a weekend off, went to Singapore 2 weeks ago and walked and took photos of the whole track (except the part that is still a construction site). Yes there are some narrow parts, like the Anderson Bridge, but there are many wide and fast parts of the track and in general that track design seems to provide more racing and overtaking opportunities than many purposely built F1 tracks today.

    Then if you do some research you find out that although long ago, Singapore did host Singapore Grands Prix (60s-70s) although not F1… So it is not like there never has been any race down there. Also note that Singapore is just a short flight from India where the F1 fan base is growing very very quickly…

    Ok,Malaysia can only stay on calendar, because it is a matter of prestige for Malaysian government and they are willing to pay for it. But as for China, the reasons for the race to go there are exactly the same as why the teams want to race in the USA… Yes, it may not be be the most popular sport in China, be it neither is in USA, and all F1 has been trying to do for years is to break in into US market…

    There is no need to slam a new venue just because it is not in Europe or in USA … The historical tracks should survive, I would be sad to see Silverstone, Monza, Monaco, Spa to go. But I would not shed a tear if Hungary or Magny Cours goes if something exciting comes instead and no matter in what part of the world.

    As for the track design – in Zhuhai, China they built the F1 track without Tilke, they even made it to the provisional F1 calendar after Argentina was dropped, only for FIA to find out the track is impossible for F1 to race on … So perhaps when governments now invest so wast sums of money in getting the race, they prefer to play safe and use track designer whos track will get FIA approval :-)

    sorry for so long comment

  23. Appreciate your inputs guys but I must add that driving an F1 car at top speed at night is quite different from driving a passenger car or a 20 year old GP car. But I suppose we’ll have to wait & see what happens down the road.

  24. I have said this a few times but night racing at full speed no matter how many lights you have – it’s stupid sensationalismn – its enviromentally a disaster – it wont ruin the planet – but – it shows no thought on helping F1 to give a good image about using the earths resources – so much for what max says and does – the costs? – heres something to think on – car loses control due to the driver getting glare in his eyes – spins and flips into the crowd – are max and bernie too blame? – wont happen hopefully – but why race at night anyway – or is it about tv schedules elsewhere ?

  25. Alan, you’re right. It’s all about TV schedules elsewhere, hence the profits & the money. If someone does get hurt or killed, Max & Bernie won’t be there to take the fall.

  26. Singapore night race, everyone talks about the lights. Bright enough / not bright enough / power failure etc.
    But has anyone mentioned or considered what happens when powerfull lights are turned on in tropical countries? Huge swarms of bugs turn up! Driving through a bug cloud, visors covered with bugs etc could be very dangerous.

  27. PaulRS, you’re right about the bugs in a tropical country. But Singapore is so developed that it’s a concrete jungle out there. No much space for bugs to breed. But heavy rainfall in a night race can be very dangerous because one cannot see the water or the road very clearly in the F1 car driver position.

  28. Chris The Stewie
    18th March 2008, 3:19

    Hey why bring back an old track, lets get some new circuits involved, if you haven’t seen Phillip Island in Victoria , Australia, then take a look. This is one of the best if not the best racing circuit on the planet.
    It hosts the Bikes and Super V8’s and gets rave reviews from ALL who have driven on it.
    Forget the old ….. lets get new.

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