The state of the 2010 F1 calendar

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Hockenheim, along with Donington and Fuji, looks uncertain for 2010

With so much attention focused on which teams might be racing in F1 in 2010, less is being said about what circuits might feature on the world championship calendar.

Many circuits are facing pressure from falling audiences and Bernie Ecclestone’s unrelentingly high prices. There is significant doubt over the planned races at Hockenheim, Fuji and Donington Park.

With this in mind, which tracks will still be on the 2010 F1 calendar, which new or returning events could arrive – and which ones will be squeezed out?

British Grand Prix

Significant doubt surrounds the British Grand Prix’s proposed move from Silverstone to Donington Park.

Construction work at the circuit has caused races to be cancelled or postponed, track owner Tom Wheatcroft is demanding millions in unpaid rent from race organiser Simon Gillett, and few details have emerged concerning how the circuit upgrade and race contract will be paid for.

Ecclestone has emphatically denied that, if Donington isn’t ready, F1 could return to Silverstone in 2010. But as well as suggesting the British Grand Prix could skip a year in 2010 while Donington gets ready, he has also indicated that a return to Silverstone could happen after all.

Silverstone, meanwhile, has bagged Donington’s Moto GP race for 2010 and is planning revisions to its layout to accommodate the bikes. But rumours suggest other F1-friendly developments are in the pipeline too. Among the most radical suggestions are that Ecclestone could buy the circuit.

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German Grand Prix

The German Grand Prix is supposed to rotate between the Nurburgring (this year’s host) and the Hockenheimring (next year’s).

However in December the Badem-W???rttemberg government said it would no longer provide financial support to the race which was believed to have lost ??6m (5.1m/$8.6m) last year.

The two circuits had begun sharing the event since the retirement of Michael Schumacher has seen a significant fall in race attendance – despite five of F1’s 20 drivers having German nationality. The Nurburgring round receives government support estimated at $15m per year in 2007.

Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese Grand Prix is also operating a rotation system, between Honda-owned Suzuka and Toyota-owned Fuji.

However earlier this week it emerged that the organisers of the Fuji race are considering dropping the event after just two runnings at the modernised venue in 2007 and 2008.

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South Korean Grand Prix

South Korea's F1 track in Jeonnam (click to enlarge)

The South Korean Grand Prix is expected to be the major new addition to the 2010 F1 calendar.

The 5.4km Jeonnam Circuit was designed by (prepare to feign surprise) Hermann Tilke and is located in the south-west of the country.

The addition of a new round to the calendar doesn’t necessarily mean another event has to be dropped. This year’s calendar was cut from 18 to 17 rounds following the last-minute dropping of the French Grand Prix.

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Recently dropped races

Several races that have fallen off the calendar in recent years have expressed a desire to return.

France’s Prime Minister Francois Fillon has stated a desire to return the French Grand Prix to the F1 calendar in 2010. It is absent from the world championship calendar this year for the first time since its cancellation in 1955 following the Le Mans disaster.

However there are several obstacles hindering the hopes for a race at the proposed Flins-Mureux track (which, unusually, has not been designed by Hermann Tilke). The President of the Conseil General of the Yvelines departement Pierre Bedier, a key supporter of the race, has had to stand down from his position after losing an appeal against a corruption charge. And residents near the proposed site of the Flins track have raised many objections.

Similarly the promoters of the Canadian Grand Prix, which was dropped at the end of 2008, have had a series of meetings with Bernie Ecclestone aimed at returning the circuit to the F1 calendar.

However there has been little talk of a potential return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the United States Grand Prix. There have recently been rumours that speedway boss Tony George, who arranged the 2000-2007 races with Bernie Ecclestone, was to be dismissed from the circuit, but this failed to materialise. He is likely preoccupied with the affect of the recession on his circuit and the Indy Racing League.

The 2011 and 2012 F1 calendars

The Indian Grand Prix, which was originally planned for 2010, is now aiming to be on the F1 calendar in 2011. Ecclestone told the BBC in January:

Of course we will deliver… otherwise we wouldn’t have entered into an agreement. [India is] a large, large country with a big population and it’s good for the sponsors, car manufacturers and everyone involved in Formula 1.

A Rome Grand Prix looks increasingly likely for 2012. The circuit layout has been planned (video lap here) and Ecclestone is believed to have registered the name ‘Formula 1 Gran Premio di Roma’. This would likely scupper any lingering hope Imola has of returning to the calendar, despite getting a facelift since being dropped by F1 in 2006.

The Hungarian national government, which puts around $14m per year into the Hungarian Grand Prix, is considering whether to continue that level of support after 2011.

The Turkish Grand Prix’s contract is up for renewal after the 2011 race. Many circuits are suffering poor attendance at F1 races at the moment but the Istanbul Park circuit’s shortage seemed particularly acute last year. Keep an eye on those stands this weekend.

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Which events do you think will fall off the calendar in 2010? Will we continue to see European races fall by the wayside? And will the South Korean race happen? Leave a comment below.

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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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75 comments on “The state of the 2010 F1 calendar”

  1. Kind focuses on what Max is trying to say, the worlds financial collapse puts pressure on everything, if Japan, and Germany are getting cold feet, who is next?

    1. True, but it isn`t team budgets that decide the charges for circuits. That’s Bernie. I hear he takes his money regardless if an event is even held.
      Maybe Max would be better concentrating on persuading the Commercial Rights Holder (whichever person/bank/hedge fund it happens to be at that given point in time) to rein it’s multi-million appetite. That way GPs might actually break even.

      1. the way things are going we may see the shortest season f1 has ever seen. That is supposing we have f1 as we know it next season.
        We may have a diluted grid as well as a diluted calendar.

        We need a diluted FIA and a diluted FOM with the removal of the MAX and BERNIE double act.

  2. Its all very well have lots of teams but in many respects the tracks are so much more important.

    Also on the point of view of new teams and tracks do the new tracks have pit room/buildings for all of these new teams?

  3. But to me, the way that Bernie is happy to drop the fan friendly British, French, German and American tracks in favour of the cash-rich Middle and Far Eastern ones means that this is the beginning of the end of ‘sensible’ racing.
    Whats the point of staging the races where only the rich can afford to travel, let alone pay the ticket price? And although the racing may improve with smaller teams, are the rich and gullible (and the sponsors) going to pay to travel just to see a lot of unknown names?
    We all know that Bernie and Max like to have their cake, but they may find themselves running races in horribly empty circuits, which doesn’t make for good TV either…..

    1. This is what Bernie wants. If he could ban the sale of burgers and hotdogs at the British GP, I’m sure he would.
      Likewise, with the giant sausages you can get at the German GP.
      Cheap beer would be replaces by champagne and unruly crowd members by cardboard cut outs. OK, maybe that’s a bit too far, but that’s the impression I get.

      Bernie’s treats F1 circuits like his own giant Scalextric set?

      1. Bernie’s treats F1 circuits like his own giant Scalextric set?

        Very well put. I agree 100%

  4. The Fuji Speedway thing seems to have been blown out of the water a bit. That newspaper quoted some Toyota employees saying they felt their company shouldnt spend that money on the Japanese GP, that it is possibly under review, but in an official reaction Toyota let it be known that preparations are going ahead as planned. and considering Bernie’s shrewd entrepreneurship, there is a very steep fee to pay if Toyota were to opt out at this time.
    Still, in the long run, it doesnt seem to be the right venue in the right place…

    Donington Park just isnt gonna make it in time for next year’s gp, and a silverstone decision is needed within a month to make any chance of taking place next year (getting a race organised requires a huge amount of effort!), same for all the other last-minute entries like Magny-Cours, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or others. So I dont expect any of these back before 2011 or later…

    the Hungaroring is in serious difficulty, with the hungarian government basically saying that its too expensive, and unless some other ministry is willing to diverge budget to it, the financa ministry is not gonna foot the bill. But a decision can obviously be postponed till 2011.

    Hockenheimring is the most likely victim at this point. Its owner, the 20,000 folks town of Hockenheim, is unwilling to foot the bill anymore, and is asking the Baden-Württemberg tate government to help out, since the state is calculated to earn manifold on the investment from increases tax returns over the weekend. But the state PM is unwilling to do so and pressuring Bernie to lower his fee. Now Bernie has said he’s willing to help a bit, but not by lowering his fees.
    The other german venue, the Nurburgring, is owned by the state government of Rheinland-Pfaltz, who are thus footing most of the bill anyway… But theyve indicated they wont do it ever year…

  5. Jonesracing82
    3rd June 2009, 8:57

    i am guessing the 13 team limit is for the circuits which can host only 13 teams in ther garage area?
    my question is this –
    whats the point in having races in area’s like India where it’s a good market for the Manufacturers, when in say 3 years most of them will have left!
    we’ll end up having races in Countires with little or no racing heriatage, India being an example, name one Indian champion driver the Indians are going to follow and cheer for, and there may not even be an Indian driver at that time as there isnt now in F1.
    i think the heriatage rounds like France, Britain Germany etc should stay and i’d love to see Montreal return! i just think it’s yet anopther area where F1 is digging itself a great big hole it wont be able to get out of!

    1. we’ll end up having races in Countires with little or no racing heriatage, India being an example, name one Indian champion driver the Indians are going to follow and cheer for

      I can’t name anyone from Hungary either,
      or even from Belgium!
      Though SPA is an extremely fantastic circuit.
      What I mean to say is, it is not necessary to have a race driver from a country to host a race. And as far as fans are concerned, let me assure you, India has more F1 fans than that of most of the countries!

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        3rd June 2009, 15:50
        There’s one Indian driver I can think of off the top of my head.

        I haven’t seen any GP2 for a while so I’m not sure how good he actually is but if there is an Indian GP in a few years he’ll probably end up getting an F1 drive.

      2. or even from Belgium!
        Though SPA is an extremely fantastic circuit.

        In the past? Thierry Boutsen and Jacky Ickx. Ickx is like a six time winner of Le Mans and won quite a few F1 races for Ferrari.

      3. You don’t mean to say you’ve forgotten Zsolt Baumgartner already?!

    2. name one Indian champion driver the Indians are going to follow and cheer for

      If we’re going to restrict F1 venues to the countries which have champions, we’d only have 14 nations to visit. And you can kiss goodbye to Spa…

      India had Karthikeyan a few years ago and Chandhok is looking better in GP2 this year than before (would have won in Monaco had his car not failed). It has a gigantic population and the beginnings of a car industry. I can’t think of a better new venue for F1 to be going to.

      Providing, of course, the track is decent.

      1. I completely agree with you, Keith. Apart from the population and car market factor, the F1 fan base is increasing in India in quite a pace. And more strategically, the track is being built at Noida, near New Delhi, with every kind of facilities apart from a very good potential market!

        As far as Chandok is concerned, this year indeed he is looking very good, but practically speaking, he does not hold a good chance in stepping up to F1, IMO. If the smaller and newer teams are not interested in him

        1. I’m all for India and other nations getting into the F1 mix, but that should not be at the expense of nations that are still very important to the global financial market and to sponsors/manufacturers/etc.. I have said before that India will pick up F1 much quicker than many of the other recent additions to the calendar, but having two races a year that are just a few hundred miles apart- Bahrain/Abu Dhabi and Singapore/Malaysia- makes zero sense from a marketing standpoint.

          Along with that, it angers me a great deal when I hear Bernie rant and rave about some of these new GP destinations, while Europe, Australia, and those of us here in North America have our races yanked away. What Bernie said about India has applied here in the U.S. for decades, and yet he spites everyone involved in the sport by yanking out of North America completely. Three cheers for expansion, but some destinations should have a secure place along with that expansion.

          1. I cant agree more with Gman, the race in Singapore was a complete was of time and money, same can be said about the Yas Marina track (funny how both tracks have the name Marina in the them). Being Malaysian and knowing Singaporeans well, they’ve been bitterly disappointed from the day F1 was first staged in Sepang, they’ve been trying to get one over us since. Its a Singaporean culture thing.

            Instead of two races in South East Asia, and two more in the middle east, I would have loved to see at least one race in Africa. Then again, its all about the business. Soon, well have more Eastern GPs than Western. I hear that Russia is working on a track, so is Kazakhstan. I wont be surprised if Indonesia throw their bids in. Morroco and Egypt also seem interested.

            There is a lot more speculation in the east rather than the west.

            As for the whole Indian thing, I have agree with Keith, why do you need to have a winning driver in order to host a race? Having said that, it would be lot better if the public actually had an interest in F1. Watching races in Sepang, Shanghai, Sakhir…just feels empty…but then again, some of these tracks have huge capacities. We get an average of 100K a year in Sepang, but it still looks empty because it can hold a whole lot more.

          2. Jay Menon says:
            June 4, 2009 at 2:10 am

            I cant agree more with Gman, the race in Singapore was a complete was of time and money, same can be said about the Yas Marina track (funny how both tracks have the name Marina in the them). Being Malaysian and knowing Singaporeans well, they’ve been bitterly disappointed from the day F1 was first staged in Sepang, they’ve been trying to get one over us since. Its a Singaporean culture thing.

            Woah, hang on now. I understand if you criticise the circuit (hard to overtake, bumpy, tortoises at turn 10 “The Singapore Sling”) or the niggling inaugural race logistical issues (which were manageable) but a complete waste of time and money? I would argue that we’ve added something to the calender, challenge the drivers in drivers in different ways, while providing a once a year opportunity to see the cars at night/giving out sparks from their behinds.

            I’m glad to inform that nobody in Singapore is “bitterly disappointed” with you guys getting the race first before us. Elder Lee admitted he should have let F1 enter earlier, in the 90s, for commercial and buzz reasons, but the general public honestly didn’t care that much. The racing enthusiasts might have been a little disappointed there isn’t a race nearer, but most of them have been loving the yearly short holiday trip to Sepang the past decade.

            From both anecdotal and statistical evidence, I would say that it’s been more about holding the race boosting interest greatly in the sport here, which is always a good thing, no? You’ll get more people traveling to Sepang (like me next year), more chances to get to a critical mass to improve coverage of races and all that.

            I do believe the two races offer something different enough for the fans in the region to co-exist, and actually help grow the fan base.

            We’re not ALL kiasu jerks you know, haha, although it might appear that way at times. I would say, for a vast majority, Malaysia has always occupied a large, warm and fuzzy part of our hearts, since we all have ties there, and living there is so much more desirable than here. We probably don’t visit as much, but that’s more down to JB’s crime rate though.

          3. Hey Chua,

            Sorry if I’d generalized the whole Kiasu thing, I’ve know quite a few Singaporeans who are good guys, but I’ve meet hordes of them whom I just can’t stand, my relatives included,, sorry for that. I bet you’ve come across quite a few people across Tebrau who aren’t excatly the most accomodating too.

            The point I was trying to make was that, I dont think there is enough enthusiasm here for F1 to have two races next to each other, same can be said about Korea, India and the Middle East. I can’t really say that I can understand the commercial reasons for Singapore, because they don’t really need the publicity. Everybody knows Singapore, you’re probably the most famous ASEAN country, barring Thailand, for different reasons of course. For us in Malaysia, F1 was a way of promoting country more than anything else, we used to be the country between Singapore and Thailand shaped line a weiner and where people lived in trees and wooded shacks, so F1, commerically, was a big deal.

            Secondly, apart from being a night race, I dont think Marina Bay brings much to racing, I honestly don;t like tracks that mock Monaco, which by, I hate Valencia as well..sorry for that, its a personal opinion. Having said all this, Sepang doesn’t bring much either, apart from the physical stress the drivers and the cars go through due to the blistering heat, and of course the thunderstorms, which is great fun. (its doesn’t really rain too heavily after 7 pm in these parts..agreed? At least not regularly)

            So, the best solution is..a rotation as many have suggested, I dont mind it, it would be good. The hype in Singapore will eventually die down after a couple years, same thing’s happened in Sepang and Shanghai, spotted quite a few empty seats in Sakhir as well.

            No hard feelings mate.

  6. My Heart goes out to Codemasters currently working on their 2010 F1 game…..

    I mean, what circuits do they build? Silverstone? Donington? What cars do they build so that their game is ready to go at begining of 2010 season?

    I’m sure it is not everyones concerne, but at the fringes of F1, these things can have a huge affect.

    Still, 2 British GPs would be awesome, come on Bernie, you know it makes sense. :)

    1. I hope Codemasters read this and take my advice – Put ALL the tracks in the game :)

      1. yeh, they should put in all proposed tracks and then at the last minute when the calendar has been finalised, assign the non-race tracks as test tracks or multplayer only tracks or something. i must say if there is to be only 1 gp in germany, it should be the nurburgring. im not really a fan of hockenheim. although i do support giving priority to existing tracks (with heritage) than new ones.

  7. Having seen ITV4’s coverage from the BTCC rounds at Donington a week and a half ago, I fail to see how there is going to be a venue up to F1 standards there in a year’s time. The only visible thing they’ve done is to dismantle the Dunlop Bridge and dig a hole under the track. Baring in mind they’re still holding races there, plus they have the Download Festival to set up, host, and then dismantle in 2 weeks time, a British Grand Prix there in 12 months is just not going to happen.

  8. As I said some weeks ago… We will end up with about 5 races in Europe, and at least 3 of them will be street races. Good or bad? I don’t know. There is so much else in F1 I want to “fix”. But the F1 I remember as a kid back in the 70s will never come back. I just hope they keep one classic track in Europe (apart from Monaco) – preferable Spa.

    As for the overall situation… Last year there were (if I remember correctly) 4 German drivers and 2 German auto manufacturers involved, and F1 recently saw a German winning the title 5 years in a row. Germany is the fifth biggest economy in the world. Still, they have problem getting the finances together for just one round of F1.

    1. Five German drivers, a quarter of the grid! You would have thought they would be able to host a race no problems – i know the crowd dropped off a bit with Schumacher’s retirement but even still! Instead they will probably drop of the calendar, despite having more driver representatives than any other country and a strong constructor number, and be replaced by some soulless autodrome with amazing facilities and empty stands, but that has bagfulls of money to burn. It does sadden me to see all these races disappear that have been around for ever!

      I also really hope we dont get too many street races either – one or two is fine because they are a novelty, so you dont mind it if they are a little boring – but more than that is silly – we all know they are only going to be good if it rains or there is a safety car. Overtaking is virtually non existant and there is nothing more annoying than a full on lights to flag race! Ahem*Valencia*ahem!

  9. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd June 2009, 10:28

    If Hungary goes, I think some way needs to be found to keep Formula One in Eastern Europe. Robert Kubica has a lot of support not simply from Poland, but from other East European nations as well. I’d love to see a Russian Grand Prix materialise some time in the future; a street circuit hrough St. Petersburg, anyone?

    1. If you want to keep F1 in Eastern Europe, I vote for Brno in the Czech Republic. The MotoGP crowd seems to love it and it put up some good races in A1GP in the recent past. Plus some groups in Poland are apparently trying to make something happen…

      1. I can’t understand why there’s never been a Finnish Grand Prix. They must be the most successful F1 nation never to have had a race.

  10. I’d just love to see circuits that can be raced on & cars that can actually race.
    Dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night isn’t my favourite option but preferable to watching Scalextric races around Disneyworld venues under floodlights. I’m still wondering what the heck will happen the first time a night race encounters rain & visibility is zilch.

  11. I think it is laughable that the 2010 F1 calendar could be without races in Britain, France, Germany, USA and Canada – all countries which have important history in F1, all races which dont struggle to pack out their stands and all races which for the most part provide good racing. Instead we have been given Valencia – which I actually fell asleep in last year – in the middle of the afternoon! Singapore – was flattered by the novelty of being the first and only night race as well as the safety car, the track itself and racing wasnt overly amazing. Abu Dhabi – well I shall reserve judgement on that for now, but racing wise I see it as being no better than say Bahrain or China, but we shall see. I certainly dont beleive it deserves the final spot on the calendar – that should be earned – although I have a sneaking suspicion that this year might not go to the final race anyways. South Korea – hmmm I wasnt given a good impression by the website and its glaring inaccuracies all over the place. They either underestimate the intelligence of the fans reading, or they simply dont know that some of their ‘facts’ are incorrect. Either way it doesnt give a good impression to me. Plus the circuit design didnt seem stand out or anything.

    As for the changing shape of the calendar:

    This year’s calendar:
    53% of the races are in Europe,
    35% in Asia and the Middle East,
    6% in Australasia,
    6% in South America.

    Next year, basing it on the fact that Donington wont make it in time and Silverstone wont be allowed it, that Hockenheim wont be able to host the German race, and then South Korea appearing, and then say maybe one race in North America reinstated – that would leave the calendar at:
    41% in Europe,
    41% in Asia and the Middle East,
    6% in Australasia
    6% in South America
    6% in North America

    Silly that an area that is generally not reknowned for their love of racing (bar Japan which has always done well in terms of interest levels), has an equal share of races with a continent that adores the sport and has passionate fans filling many of their tracks. Both North and South America should have two races each in my opinion – i dont recall previous races in either continent struggling to fill seats, or having boring tracks.

    As for previous calendars

    Five years ago in 2004 it was:
    55% in Europe
    22% in Asia and the Middle East
    11% in North America
    6% in Australasia
    6% in South America

    Ten years ago in 1999 it was:
    69% in Europe
    13% in Asia
    6% in Australasia
    6% in South America
    6% in North America

    and twenty years ago in 1989 it was:
    62% in Europe
    13% in South America
    13% in North America
    6% in Australasia
    6% in Asia

    I dont remember F1 as far back as 1989 – but the other years I mentioned – I dont remember empty stands on the same scale that there are now, and whilst Europe dominated (as it always has done given the roots of the sport were in Europe), the calendar covered a wider area and more continents.

    I dont have a problem with new Grands Prix provided they can be a good rival for those one dropped in their favour. Of the new tracks added in recent years only Turkey has got to a point where people would miss it if it went – to the point where it is often mentioned in the same breath as some of the greats when referring to challenging and interesting tracks. Yet of those dropped – Indianapolis, Montreal, France – all are now being campaigned by many to have reinstated. I cant imagine any of the newer ones having such passionate campaigns behind them if they were to be dropped. It is just a shame that Turkey struggles to fill their stands, because I wouldnt want to tar it with the same brush as say China and Bahrain – the fact it is in the middle of nowhere really doesnt help that cause.

    I really wish fans views were listened to when it comes to the calendar (and other things), and that packed out stands counted for something. Unfortunately i doubt that will ever be the case, definitely not whilst certain people are in charge. Wasnt Canada last year one of only four sold out Grands Prix? That a Grand Prix that sells out cannot afford to keep hosting a race is ridiculous! And as i was saying to my Dad yesterday, Canada was the only one of the four which didnt really have any reson behind it – Britain had the Hamilton Factor, Singapore first night race and Brazil title showdown with Massa involved. Canada just sold out on its own. Plus how bad do empty stands look on TV! Seeing as TV viewing figures are the be all and end all! And those figures will also drop if the racing is uninteresting and unexciting as can happen more often than not at some of these characterless newer tracks.

    I understand it is a business, but us fans contribute so much to that really, yet we have so little say. It does frustrate me! lol

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      3rd June 2009, 14:34

      So you’re saying Formula One shouldn’t be a global sport? These are the best drivers in the world we’re talking about … kind of difficult to have that title when they’re only racing on one continent. True, it’s not at the level of World Series Baseball with only one nation competing, but that doesn’t mean races should be denied a place on the calendar simply because they’re not European. If there as one race on every continent – Antarctica being the obvious exception – I wouldn’t mind too much if some of the “traditional” races departed.

      1. I’m not saying that at all. I didnt say at any point in that I think all the races should be in Europe.

        But they shouldnt all be in Asia or the Middle East either, just because they have bucketfuls of government money – which is the way it seems headed at the minute. Tradition and history, as well as filling the grandstands seems to count for nothing.

        I will always watch F1, but it looks awful seeing all these new fancy tracks half filled compared to the old traditional ones that apparantly arent up to scratch packed to the brim. Yet its the packed races that are being dropped, not the half full ones.

        I agree there should be races on every continent – but there isnt, none in North America, none in Africa – both continents which have held races in the past, but dont anymore. I mentioned the lack of races in North America several times as it is something i feel passionately about. Not only did they cut out a whole continent when Canada was removed they took away one of the best tracks on the calendar in my opinion.

        Instead, as well as having a large share in Europe (which I do beleive there should be a decent share of, as the sports roots are in Europe), there is pretty much as many in Asia and the Middle East now – which there is little or no racing heritage, low levels of interest compared to other areas (as i said before bar Japan where F1 has always seemed to do well) and the tracks are relatively uninteresting.

        1. Europe and South America have the biggest F1 racing heritage, and so most of the races should be in those places in my view. Throw in a couple in North America, one in Australia, one in South Africa, one in Japan, and a couple on the Asian continent, and the calendar will look as it should do. Much like is did in the late 80’s. And I’m not just looking through rose-tinted specs, as I didn’t start watching ’till 1994, it’s just a bit of common sense and it’s how it should rightly be. Why have a GP in Bahrain, Korea, or China, when none of these places are famed for their contribution to motor racing, and where the tracks are shiney and new, but devoid of character and history, and where the grandstands will be or are already empty?

        2. Motorsport, but not specifically F1, is huge in Asia the reason the fans are not sat in the seats is lack of money, it was £15 for the entire weekend in Sepang, cheap to the western world,but when you earn a dollar a day, it is not a priority to sit in a stand at a motor race…

      2. Sure, it is a global sport. But that mans that nations that are important to the historical and economic makeup of F1 should have priority when it comes to assigning GPs. Sure, F1 should race in and develop in India and China. But along with that, races in places like Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany and the like should be protected and kept on the calendar each year. And don’t even get me started on the topic of having F1 without a British GP….I can think of few things worse for the sport and more unfair to the millions of British people who have shaped F1 to be what ti is today.

        Lastly, as a huge baseball fan, I remind you that while all but one of the teams in Major League Baseball are in the United States, the teams are composed of players of many different nationalities. Sure there are plenty of Americans, but Hispanic players are on every roster and are many of the best players in baseball. Japan has more than a handful of fantastic talents playing for a number of teams, and there are many Canadians, Mexicans and others in the big leagues. In fact, baseball is such an international sport that the Pirates organization has two good young pitching prospects from India- I haven’t checked on their progress lately, but it just goes to show you how global the game really is.

    2. SO we’re still viewing F1 as a Euro-centric sport? Give it up! Money talks and BS walks and that includes F1 as well.

      1. If money talks, give Bill Gates his own GP! Warren Buffet can get one! We’ll have the Gates GP on the Microsoft parking lot, and Buffet can get an exclusive Corn-field GP in Nebraska! Then, maybe we could expand it to Iran. I’m sure Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could pool a few pieces of silver together.

        Money talks but it will be hard to find any without fans. But we have Bernie and Max at the helm so they’re experts at losing fans. They say it’s getting too expensive so every year they try to make the cars cheaper and therefore worse. But the teams are there, it’s the tracks that are leaving. No one wants to see a bunch F1 cars racing around boring sand dunes covered by empty stands. If I wanted that I’d really let loose and put a bench in the Sahara, and probably be able to pull it off without bankrupting anyone.

        Why not cut the BS and let up on the senseless restrictions. Get Bernie out of there, let the teams test, use however many engines they need, let em run any tires they want, bring in more tire manufacturers, etc. It’s a business, if a team can’t compete and find a way to make a profit let em bail out. Why isn’t anyone allowed to fail if they’re bad at what they do?

        Seems the teams and the tracks would benefit from a better fan base, not more empty more-expensive tracks.

  12. Poland wants to organize a GP in near future as well. There’s a public vote (an online poll) on the choice of the venue. It will be a street course, and there are 4 candidate cities for hosting the race. The winner of the vote will then officially enter their bid.

    This is the website:
    Click “Tory” on the upper bar, then you can look at the tracks by clicking the city names, i.e. Gdynia, Warszawa, Wrocław, Kraków.

  13. Don’t forget that post Nigel Mansell crowds dropped at the British GP and think of the teams and the motorsport background this country has. There are not enough diehard fans to keep this money machine running at the level Ecclestone/CVC Capital Partners requires. That’s why they constantly seek the fairweather fans that watch so long as a Brit/German/Spaniard are doing well. Remember Joe Saward’s column from a few weeks back? Spanish GP crowd attendance has plummetted over the last 2 years. F1 is running the risk of floundering in an attempt to court new fans while trying to keep expenditure to a minimum. Friends I work with won’t give the sport the time of day. When they asked about the diffuser row and I started telling them some of the details I could see them thinking “Give us football any day…” I thought F1 was in trouble several years ago when I read Ecclestone wanted twenty GPs a season. The US dollar was week and I thought “You need cash flow”. Simple as that. CVC are taking too much money out and governments will only pay silly rates for a GP for a while. My question is what will they do then? Pay the circuits to have the races or charge the current circuits less money?

  14. If there’s one thing that really gets feeling great about life, it’s that Bernie Ecclescake… Blimey, he’s such a good listener when it comes to what the F1 fans want, and the teams for that matter.

    Seriously though, If Bernie were to put his greed in check (not going to happen), Silverstone could charge less (as well as Istanbul for example), and more people would attend.

    Simple, Sustainable and a lot of common sense. Unfortunately though, this is F1.

  15. there looks like there’s more teams entered for next year then there are tracks…

  16. I know for a fact a lot of people that would go to the britsh GP if it was more reasonable and affordable – but with the greedy fat cats running the sport, it’s obvious that the sport is going to go only one way – a soulless event that only rich people can see with their wags who couldnt give a toss. If I were the FOTA i’d seriously think of a breakaway series – at the end of the day it might not be F1 – but I think F1 is running the risk of not being ‘F1.’

    1. Couldn’t agree more mate.

      Every year I look at the tickets for the British GP but once you’ve added transport, accommodation, food etc to the price of the tickets it works out being more expensive than a week in the Isle of Man for the TT.

      Compared to other events, like the WTCC at Brands Hatch, where advanced weekend tickets cost £35 the British GP just can’t compete, their cheapest weekend ticket is £119 !
      Parking at Silverstone on Sunday alone is £37, or £2 more than a weekend ticket for the WTCC !

    2. Well said kali_f1!

  17. My beef is with Bernie Ecclestone. He only thinks about where the money is and how much of that money goes into his bank account. I don’t know if it is only him that makes the choices about where the races will take place, but I believe it would much better if they had a completly different group of people that did reseach on where they would get the most fan support then make their schedule choices based on that alone. That way if a new country wants to make a bid for a race, it will be that countries responsibility to provide proof that they will have enough people to fill the stands.
    according to some research that i did, Montreal had just over 300,000 people flock to the city on the race weekend!
    B.E. is just a greedy old……

  18. Brian. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  19. went to valencia last year and paid out over £400 for a weekend seat. what i got for that was, one of the most boring races i’ve ever seen and the kind of facilities that would make a non league football ground blush.

    i felt like i had been mugged by a little old man!!!

  20. Unfortunately, we can forget the USGP at Indianapolis. In an interview with the Indy Star’s Curt Cavin Tony George said that the race made money the first 4 years and lost money the last 4. And evidently the losses were growing. He won’t even try to bring F1 back unless Bernie drastically lowers his price, and I just don’t see that happening.

    I tried to find the link to the story, but it may have been archived already.

    1. Indeed, I believe that has been Tony’s position on F1 since Bernie pulled out of town after 2007.If somehow the prices were lowered or made into a decent business model for circuits, then Indy would probably be the first back in line. But as long as Bernie is running the show the way he is, F1 remains on the back burner at IMS.

  21. think its time to get rid off Bernie hes ruining the sport.

    1. Bernie literally *owns the sport, so that aint gonna happen.

      1. He doesn`t really anymore, Rich. He still has various companies which have different interests in the sport but, in the main, the sport is now ‘owned’ by CVC or whoever they chose to sell to. That’s another thing FOTA have been concerned about. Just who the Commercial Rights Holder will be.

  22. From what I have gathered regarding Bernie and the calendar, he operates FOM not as a sporting or even an entertainment company, but rather as a financial entity- no different than a bank or investment firm. Sure he likes the racing, but that is just a means for him to make the money for CVC Group. The same could be said for many different sports promoters the world over, but at least they care about the fans in their key markets…..

    It is absolutely outrageous that we could be facing a 2010 calendar without raced in the United States, Canada, France, Britain, and Germany. Add to that the Australian GP having it’s future placed under threat in recent years, and you’ve got a situation where the key markets for sponsors and manufacturers are taken away or placed under threat, and the venues that are some of the most enthusiastic have gone missing.

    Sadly, this has deprived millions of fans the world over (myself included) of a race to attend in a close and cost-effective manner. But again, the car companies and sponsors lose a market presence in places that are very important. Sure, all the teams will tell you that they want to be in India, but you would also be hard-pressed to find even one who dose not value the market in North America and Europe just as much.

    I remember Bernie putting out his first provisional calendar in late June of last season- while I expect he’d wait until the debate over new teams settles down, we’ll see if anything similar pops up now.

  23. Laguna Seca!

  24. I am dying for imola to come back but the chances of that happening are getting smaller and smaller. Hockenheim in its revised version is beeter than half the tracks on the calender.
    Its hard for me to believe that better tracks cant be design by herman tilke and these other architects.

    I dont wont to wish death on anyone but bernie has murdered f1 and I wouldn’t mined if someone would do the same to him.

  25. I forgot to ask the question of why they just can’t run the french grand prix at the bugatti circuit. It looks like it would produce some good f1 racing.

    1. It’d make too much sense.
      An existing circuit with plenty of history and adequate facilities, not a chance mate :-)

  26. They should alternate races from year to year, for example in the middle east you could have one year the race on Bahrain, next year Abu Dhabi, One year Malaysia another year India or maybe Singapour, Spain can trade places from valencia one year to barcelona the other. this way you can please a lot of new venues and keep room for old ones. We should always keep Nurburing, Silverstone, Monaco, Spa, Interlagos, Monza, and they should give south Africa a race, with the places left from the alternating countries, you should Bring back France (le mans), Canada (Gilles Villenueve), the US (Laguna Seca) and Argentina

    1. Alternating wouuld mean only getting income from every other year but having the upkeep for two, George. It’s a bit of a last chance saloon way of keeping a GP when the going gets rough but far from ideal.

  27. F1 Calendar
    3.South Africa
    4.Alternate Barcelona/Valencia
    6.Alternate Turkey/Rome
    7.US Laguna Seca
    8.Canada MONTREAL
    9.France LE MANS
    10.Britain SILVERSTONE
    11.Belgium SPA
    12.Italy MONZA
    13.Alternate Bahrain/Abu Dhabi
    14.Alternate Malasya/Singapour
    18.Japan SUSUKA

    1. Replace:
      4.Alternate Barcelona/Valencia

      4.Alternate Jerez/Portimão

      and we have a deal!

  28. correction!!! scrap india and put in the Nurburing

    1. Preferably the old one !

  29. Guys back in 1977 we used 2 have 17 races,after 32 years we still have 17 races.Dont u think that we should have more than 20 races,as there is no in season testing.
    I think Bernie should stop talking about money in this global recession & think how 2 expand F1

    1. All sorts of problems with having more races, wasiF1.
      More races = more exoense & particularly when it gets to a stage when the guys are working solidly from Feb/March through to November without the mid-season break. It would mean each team would have to have 2 ‘shifts’ of crew. Twice the manpower & twice the wages.
      While Bernie may like the idea the teams definitely don`t.

    2. I agree with you wasiF1. We should have a calender consisting of 22 races.

      It should start at the start of February and have 13 races (one every 2 weeks). Then you could have a mid season break of 4 weeks and have the next 13 races(one every 2 weeks). This would have the championship rapping up at the end of November and leave a 2 month break over christmas.

      Now before all you critics strat saying “yer but it will cost to much”. i couldn’t give a crap how much it costs, I just wont to see more racing more often.

  30. I’m an advocate of dirt cheap admission tickets at venues. make it cheap and people will come. but when it costs a few hundreds of whatever currency to attend a 2 hour race that you can get a better view of at home almost for free then what’s the point. i always hear about the noise, but I notice that a lot of people on the tracks put earplugs… and use kangaroo TV’s to understand what’s happening.

    Bernie, Max and co. make attendance cheap and then race tracks would return to be attractive and people will fill the stands… stop being greedy

  31. So a new question is, why are we the Fans bothering to pay such silly amounts for a seat (if you can afford a seat) in a poor position of a circuit, with bad facilites and miles away from either a loudspeaker or a big screen (unless you can afford Bernie’s Kangaroo).
    In football (soccer), the Fans have got together and made various clubs sort out prices and accommodation. Although I think soccer is another sport where silly money prevails over the actual game.
    Unfortunately, I think the only way we the Fans could make our presence felt is by NOT paying to watch the races(and not watching on TV either), and effectively boycotting them, so Bernie and CVC don’t get any revenue at all. However, that is unfair on the people who run the circuits and the drivers and teams too.
    We the Fans appear to be in a no-win situation as far as the future of the sport is concerned, all the time Bernie can get B and C List celebs and other rich people to attend places like Monaco and Bahrain.
    I do feel that like soccer and other sports, the Fans should have a voice, but what can we do to make ourselves heard?

  32. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the new South Korean GP logo look similar to the Monaco GP logo.

  33. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the new South Korean GP logo look similar to the Monaco GP logo.

    1. It diesn’t really matter if it does, the race isn’t going to happen. Follow the link on the article about the “official pictures” and they’re nothing but artist’s conceptual drawings. Then look at an actual picture

      Nothing’s there.

      I live in Korea. There IS nothing there. And nothing nearby, either. No hotels, restaurants, etc., and forget the roads leading to the track. There’s nothing in the Korean media either about this.

      They’re going to screw the pooch on this one, just like they did the time before when Uncle Bernie pulled the plug after Korea didn’t perform.

      I love the idea of Laguna Seca!

  34. To be honest I have never liked the new style Nurburgring and Hockenheimring circuits. I never was a fan of the Hungarian round and didn’t like Magny Cours. The one circuit I miss is Montreal.
    As for Silverstone and Donington Park, I would drop both and have the race at Brands Hatch. A US gp would be good at say Leguna Seca of even the Glen. A new South American round would be nice, a return to Mexico for instance to rival Brazil.
    The South Korean round is ok by me, as long as we get a half decent show. Atleast give fresh audiences a chance to get the F1 bug in the flesh.

    1. Mexico isn’t in South America.

  35. I feel a Tilke rant coming on so i’ll just refrain for now…

  36. They build these racetracks in places where no one has the money to buy a ticket to go to the race. Bernie has to know that the promoters money is not gonna keep these races going for very long. They sound like good ideas but they always fail. F1 needs to stay in europe.


    Chinesse gp South korean gp 2010
    Bahrain gp Abu dubai gp 2009
    Turkish gp Indian gp 2011

    We cant find better places to race than this?

    USA,mexico,argentina,south africa,

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