FIA gives green light to 21-race 2016 calendar with one change

2016 F1 calendar

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The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the F1 rules which will allow next year’s 21-race calendar to go ahead. The calendar was previously limited to 20 races per year.

However the final number of events on next year’s calendar remains to be confirmed. The United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas is listed as “subject to agreement with the promoter and the ASN”.

The only change to the latest version of the calendar sees the Mexican Grand Prix move one week earlier.

The new event on next year’s schedule, the European Grand Prix at Baku in Azerbaijan, will be held one week after the Canadian Grand Prix.

It will be held on the same day as the conclusion of the Le Mans 24 Hours. However the FIA noted the start of the race will be “scheduled to avoid conflict with the conclusion” of the World Endurance Championship’s blue riband event.

Round Race Date Forum
1 Australian Grand Prix March 18 – 20 Forum
2 Bahrain Grand Prix April 1 – 3 Forum
3 Chinese Grand Prix April 15 – 17 Forum
4 Russian Grand Prix April 29 – May 1 Forum
5 Spanish Grand Prix May 13 – 15 Forum
6 Monaco Grand Prix May 26 – 29 Forum
7 Canadian Grand Prix June 10 – 12 Forum
8 European Grand Prix June 17 – 19 Forum
9 Austrian Grand Prix July 1 – 3 Forum
10 British Grand Prix July 8 – 10 Forum
11 Hungarian Grand Prix July 22 – 24 Forum
12 German Grand Prix July 29 – 31 Forum
13 Belgian Grand Prix August 26 – 28 Forum
14 Italian Grand Prix September 2 – 4 Forum
15 Singapore Grand Prix September 16 – 18 Forum
16 Malaysian Grand Prix September 30 – October 2 Forum
17 Japanese Grand Prix October 7 – 9 Forum
18 United States Grand Prix October 21 – 23 Forum
19 Mexican Grand Prix October 28 – 30 Forum
20 Brazilian Grand Prix November 11 – 13 Forum
21 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix November 25 – 27 Forum

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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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66 comments on “FIA gives green light to 21-race 2016 calendar with one change”

  1. Normally I don’t pitch in to defend WEC, but does Bernie really see Le Mans as so much of a threat to F1 that he’ll shuffle the calendar to block drivers from racing in it? I mean look at the viewing figures – WEC is a niche series and will never get even a fraction of watchers as F1, so why the animosity?

    1. @ciaran, the ACO has certainly made the accusation that the clash was a deliberate ploy and some have wondered if that was the motive behind the decision.

      Mind you, the antipathy goes both ways as the ACO has historically never had a good relationship with F1. Given it has historically had a strong rivalry with the FIA, and since F1 is the FIA’s flagship series, the ACO has traditionally had a somewhat contemptuous attitude towards F1 as a way of attacking the FIA.

      Besides, the argument is essentially a pointless one given that there would be no seats available anyway given that none of the manufacturers plan to run a third car – even some of the existing drivers in the WEC won’t now be able to compete (I believe Porsche has, at least temporarily, dropped Bamber and Tandy – the other two winning drivers in 2015 – from their roster entirely).

      1. Erm, the WEC is an FIA-sanctioned racing series alongside Formula One. Why would the ACO have beef with them?

        Did you mean FOM?

        1. Yes F1 is an FIA sanctioned event, however, the FIA under Jean Todd has almost washed their hands of F1. He has been more than happy to leave Bernie and FOM to run the circus with the FIA just kinda keeping one eye on the series in case of some possible major catastrophic event such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso pulling out (and yes despite the general bad feeling towards RBR, them removing 4 cars from the grid would be a disaster for F1)

        2. RaceProUK (@)
          3rd December 2015, 0:43

          The WEC is co-sanctioned by both the FIA and the ACO

        3. @optimaximal, I did mean the FIA and I was referring to historical disputes between the two parties – the ACO has historically not been a member organisation of the FIA and has sought to go its own way with organising sporting events.

          It is true that the FIA and the ACO are partnering together over the WEC, but that is a recent development – before 2012, the ACO ran the ILMS championship (the WEC in all but name) entirely independently from the FIA, and the ACO still runs the Asian and European series as independent entities outside of the FIA’s remit.

      2. The ACO has always seemed pretty contemptuous of everyone, including its own competitiors! Teams I worked for always thought they were the most difficult organisers to work with.

        In the days before big TV money there was often a grand prix clashing – usually Montreal – and the ACO did not care because they had over 200,000 spectators compared to a few tens of thousands at grand prix.

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      3rd December 2015, 0:45

      There’s no animosity; in the last decade or so, the Canadian GP has clashed with Le Mans at least four times. It’s just one of those things that happens.

    3. @ciaran Indeed. I’m not a WEC fan either but many drivers like it and the possibility of showcasting their talent there does no harm to F1, quite the contrary IMHO.

    4. We are talking of 2 shows, so that’s a possibility.

  2. If they cancel our USGP maybe Bernie can find a forest or swamp somewhere they can race where no one is interested.

    1. Don’t be silly, that swamp and/or forest will be long gone by the time someone buys it, plants an absolutely flat and concrete Tilkedrome there and it will look exactly like the other Tilkedromes.

      1. @npf1 As long as he’s going to countries who can’t afford the track after three years he might aswell just recycle the track lay-out too. So basically they race on the same track just in a different country.

        1. COTA is one of the best tracks on the calendar and we will lose it because of Bernie’s greed. Come on, his fees are unreasonable.

          1. …. We are praising the USGP track and putting down Tilkedromes at the same time.

            Isn’t it a Tilkedrome?

          2. @Mike, yes COTA is a Tilkedrome, but a broke watch is right twice a day and sometimes the sun even shines on a dogs ass

          3. @Mike Not really. Tilke’s firm did the final engineering work, but the COTA track layout was initially designed by Tavo Hellmund and Kevin Schwantz.

        2. @xtwl …..a second Istanbul in ISIS (unless ISIS takes over the…. no I don’t want to think about that).

          Oh or somewhere between south Korea and the PRC!

          1. I agree. I am not sure where there is a need for a race in Azerbaijan at all other than money of course. We run the risk of losing the US GP as well which of the modern circuits, probably has the best track layout.

          2. Mark in Florida
            4th December 2015, 2:24

            Haha I like the idea of Bernie going into North Korea. That way two dictators can stand side by side as they watch the car’s go by. Two yard gnomes talking shop. Kim can tell Bernie how he wrecked the country’s economy. Bernie can brag that he’s wrecked several countries economies.

  3. I have 3 things to say
    Number 1- I would love to see Bahrain, Spain, Abu Dhabi and Russia gone. They are poor tracks and lack atmosphere.
    Number 2- Going from Canada to Azerbaijan in less than a week is crazy.
    Number 3= I am thinking of going to the Hungaroring next year. Is it a good race to visit? Thanks

    1. @foleyger, I believe that there are some here who have visited that circuit – from what has been said, it does seem to be a relatively popular place to visit given that you can enjoy the cultural highlights of Budapest and the ticket prices seem to be relatively reasonable.

        1. Von Smallhausen (@engelbertvonsmallhausen)
          3rd December 2015, 7:44

          Been there in 2006 I think. Nice city. Bought three different tickets for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The stand at the chicane at the back part of the circuit was by far the best.

    2. I’m thinking of hitting Malaysia next year. Anyone been, tips?

      1. Been there many times great track lots to do in KL
        Take your sun screen can be very hot

        1. .. and very humid..

      2. Indonesia is really hot………so if here is anything to go by, yeah take your sunscreen to MY, and make sure wherever you’re staying has air conditioning – of the type that makes use of freon.

      3. Definitely Turn 1. It is the best seat by a country mile. You get an entire view of the start/finish straight, views of Turns 1-4 and even a small glimpse of Turn 5.

      4. It depends if you like the weather up in Malaysia. You may be lucky or may not depending on the rain, as they come down like golf balls

    3. I’d like to see Hockenheim off the calendar, permanently.

    4. @foleyger They will never dump Abu Dhabi. I have been there for the race this weekend and although we all knew the race was going to be dull the atmosphere was great. The one thing that strikes me most is that there were almost no die-hard F1 fans. The crowd consited much more out of the ‘take one selfie for Facebook and text the entire race’ type. Hardly any teamwear compared to Monza, Silverstone or Spa. It’s a prestigious thing to be at and more important to show others you’ve been there rather than enjoying a good race.

    5. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      2nd December 2015, 21:24

      The Bahrain track is actually quite good, shame it’s in Bahrain.

      1. I hate that about Abu Dhabi- a poor track and people who I have seen on Facebook taking photos of themselves at the concerts during the race weekend and who have no interest in the Formula 1. Bahrain would be a good track in another place alright but with very few grandstands there and they themselves are not even full, makes me hate it.

        1. I think you’ll find that in the “newer” circuits, and I think it’s inevitable because those countries don’t have the motor racing culture, but they’ll get drawn into the hype around F1. On one hand, yes it’s not the same as the tifosi but it’s better than nothing I suppose. Maybe from those, a few grow up to be die-hard F1 fans.

    6. China and Malaysia should go, too.

      1. Malaysia is actually decent.

        1. And China generally draws a good crowd & has more often than not put on a decent race.

          The crowds at Malaysia are smaller but Sepang is actually a very popular circuits among the drivers because its fast, flowing, bumpy & a challenge to get right. Its probably the most ‘traditional’ style circuit of any of the newer venues.

        2. It’s not that; I feel that way because it’s too close to Singapore, and if I had to choose between the two, well, Singapore would get my vote.

      2. Yes. Take away a circuit that I’ve been to every year since 1999. Brilliant.

        The races there has been OK. They are good ones, and there are bad ones, which can be said to all the tracks including the ‘classics’. I never understand people having ‘hate’ a track, while never even been there. Most are watching from TV anyway.

    7. When will the Google calendar for 2016 go up to subscribe?

      1. They’re in there now. The session times will be added once they’ve been confirmed:

    8. @foleyger Hungaroring is a cracker. I’ve been there this year, it was fantastic. Budapest is great, food is good and the race was a blast.

      On Spain, I like the atmosphere (been there 3 times) but races usually are pretty dull. 2/3 days in Barcelona is worth it.

    9. BIC (Bahrain International Circuit) is a good circuit.

  4. How in the world can the teams manage to go from Canada to Azerbaijan in the space of a week? That is going to be difficult.

    money clearly talks when it comes to F1 nowadays… we have CVC to blame for that.

    The races that IMO have no business being on the F1 calendar, and/or have proven to be a failure:
    -Bahrain (the worst GP in history, an appalling and dishonest event that is perpetuated by cruel people who have little regard for anything other than themselves, and that is not an overstatement. The 2014 race was great but that means really nothing in this context)
    -China (has proven to be a failure; although there have been a few good races there, the Chinese natives have not taken to any kind of motor racing, including F1; and I personally do not like the Chinese government. A statement like that would get me in jail there, but I don’t live in China)
    -Russia (I like to call this the Putin Grand Prix; Sochi is the worst F1 track on the calendar and the worst since Abu Dhabi; if they really wanted a Russian GP it should be near Moscow or St. Petersburg, preferably the latter)
    -Malaysia (has been overtaken in popularity by Singapore; is too close to Singapore. Should be replaced by India)
    -Spain (unless they go somewhere else in Spain or get rid of that silly chicane or stop testing there, this round should go.)

    Iffy GP’s:
    -Abu Dhabi: Unless they change the track to make it faster and more challenging, this event must go. I like the idea of holding a GP in the Middle East- but I absolutely would not want to go to Bahrain or Qatar. That really only leaves the Emirates- the Dubai Autodrome isn’t bad.
    -Azerbaijan: I am enticed by the long straight but quite honestly this whole race is just a huge self-promotion for Azerbaijan and its capital city.
    -Hungary: this GP has thrown up
    Some great races but honestly I think it’s time to alternate this race with another country in Eastern Europe.

    GP’s that should be on the calendar but aren’t:
    -Finland: This is a country that has produced 3 F1 champions. Why hasn’t F1 ever had a Finnish GP? It makes no sense.
    -Argentina: There should be 2 GP’s on South America and Argentina easily has the richest racing heritage, so that’s a
    shoe-in for me.
    -South Africa: F1 should be on all 6 continents (the last time that happened was in 1993); and even now SA should
    have a GP. SA unfortunately has gotten economically a whole lot worse since the racist apartheid days; but apparently Cape Town hasn’t changed much. A street race there would be just fine.
    -France: I honestly believe the Monaco GP is the defacto French GP- but honestly, not having France on the F1 calendar is a shame, but I don’t miss Magny-Cours, for sure.
    -Port Imperial, NYC: This is the best opportunity F1 has ever had to getting a race going in the New York City area- but it’s not likely to happen, sadly.

    F1 GP’s I would like to see but realistically have no chance:
    -Colombia: Too dangerous, the only city in Colombia that could host a race is Barranquila and even that city is rather dangerous
    -New Zealand: Not enough money
    -Hong Kong
    -India: Too disorganized and chaotic
    -Uruguay: If there is a race in Argentina, then forget it
    -Venezuela: haha (but seriously, Venezuela (particularly Caracas) is now so dangerous that it makes São Paulo look like Stockholm)

    1. Also one somewhere in the Caribbean

    2. China (has proven to be a failure; although there have been a few good races there, the Chinese natives have not taken to any kind of motor racing, including F1

      China actually traditionally has a very good crowd, The attendance figures for this year were 145,000 (5,000 more than this years British Gp) for raceday which is about what they have been for the past couple years.

      -Finland: This is a country that has produced 3 F1 champions. Why hasn’t F1 ever had a Finnish GP? It makes no sense.

      There’s very few actual racetracks in Finland, And none that i’m aware of capable of holding a big international event.

      -Port Imperial, NYC: This is the best opportunity F1 has ever had to getting a race going in the New York City area- but it’s not likely to happen, sadly.

      Bernie (And the teams) would love a race somewhere close to NYC, Has done for years but the recent attempt for New Jersey is the closest he’s managed to get.

      -New Zealand: Not enough money

      There’s a really nice circuit that opened a few years ago in New Zealand called Highlands Motorsport Park.

      I went to New Zealand with A1GP in 2009 when they raced at Taupo, Beautiful country.. Would love to go there again on vacation this time to be able to do some proper sightseeing.

      1. Finland has a few race tracks, but most of them are run down or defunct and the longest one is I believe 2.3 miles (3.7 km). Helsinki had the GT1 races in the mid’90s; a street race in Helsinki would be nice.

        Ecclestone has tried to get a race going in New York since 1983- in the Flushing Meadows Park in the Queens borough; which, having been to NYC many times and living not too far from there- it is an unattractive place to host a motor race. If the NYC/NJ race happens every person who follows or is involved in some way in F1 will think, “why wasn’t F1 here earlier? Oh yeah, money problems… typical in F1…” If anyone here has ever been to the NYC area- and has been to the spot where that proposed race hopefully will happen- it is undeniably the perfect spot to host a race there. No circuit in the world would have the backdrop that that one would have- and most importantly- it is a good circuit to drive. Maybe IndyCar could race there, they raced at the nearby Meadowlands parking lot around Giants Stadium in the ’80s.

      2. I’ve never been to New Zealand- but I would love to. That circuit is absolutely crazy- that has to be the fastest chicane I’ve ever seen. That looks like a beautiful area but it looks a bit isolated to me. Dunedin is not that big a city; if NZ were to have a GP it would have to be near Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

    3. Im impressed by how many prejudices you were able to fit in one commentary.

      1. lmao right

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    3rd December 2015, 0:01

    I don’t mind F1 going to new places, but I do mind losing great heritage races and only greed defining where to race.

    What about having more biennial events. That’ll keep it fresh & exciting (and affordable).
    And if we have 5-10 annual events, then we’ll have 30-35 different circuits every year (based on 20 race calendar)

    I also prefer a 2-day race weekend (in the current set-up Friday is not very exciting). That will make the saturday more interesting, and more surprises during quali.

    and finally, I don’t mind it BE charges decent amounts to the track owners, but he should allow them to market the event with more track side advertising, and creating hospitality income. It is still beyond me that Melbourne can’t make a profit when 200.000 people visit during the weekend, and the cheapest ticket is $99 (Sunday).

  6. The only thing I have to say is I hate it when a country builds a track to be used for only a short period, for example India! What a waste!

    1. RaceProUK (@)
      3rd December 2015, 10:12

      The original intention was for the GP to remain on the calendar a lot longer than it did; it just ran out of money IIRC.

  7. So its quantity over quality is it? Maybe I’ve got rose tinted glasses…but I remember the 90’s fondly when there was 16/17 races per season – this gave you something to look forward to. Nowadays it seems its F1 every weekend (and most of the time I can’t watch it live). Too much of a good thing guys…

  8. That is one late end to the season.

  9. Michael Brown
    3rd December 2015, 15:36

    They should really just drop Abu Dhabi and/or Bahrain and replace it with Dubai Autodrome.
    I’m also in the minority, surely, of saying that Valencia should be the Spanish GP and ditch Catalunya.
    And give us Port Imperial!

    I’m being idealistic.

  10. After Canadian GP follows the European GP in 5 days ! How the teams and the drivers be prepared for racing with so little amount of time and with jet lang too?

  11. I think the idea of having Azerbaijan and Canada only a week apart is madness. I also think that going to 21 races just makes it more expensive for the smaller teams in particular.

    I would stick to 20 races and drop one either in the middle east (Bahrain or Abu Dhabi) or the Far East (China, Singapore or Malaysia). Not Japan though. Mind you I would not be adding Azerbaijan! Crowd numbers would obviously have an influence on this.

    I hope they keep the US GP in Austin. It’s a good circuit that seems popular with everyone involved. Why is money always the determining factor. What about the quality of racing, the spectacle, the crowds. It’s madness.

    If I was going to drop a race in Europe it would actually be Spain, well Barcelona in particular. It always seem to be a boring race. No real objection to Spain having a race.

    1. Actually the calendar does not make much sense at all.

      Why not slot Azerbaijan in a week after Russia, move Spain a week later so it is back to back with Monaco (no distance at all) and then have a two week gap after Canada? Then one of either Austria/Britain or Hungary/Germany would not have to be back to back and you would end up in the same place for the Summer break.

  12. ‘blue riband event’ That is so old-fashioned. Why don’t they just say Blue Ribbon. Bunch of elitist snobs. This isn’t sailing after all.

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