F1 may add second race in China

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In the round-up: A second F1 race in China is also under consideration by the sport’s new owners.

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Comment of the day

F1 should have more short tracks like the Red Bull Ring, says

A vote for short tracks. Spectators see the cars more, there is less empty track, more lapped traffic for the leaders. I don’t know why F1 tracks have become so long in the last generation.

Maybe this is a US bias, where Elkhart Lake or Watkins Glen are “long” circuits and there are more shortish street circuits.
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52 comments on “F1 may add second race in China”

  1. I completely agree with comment of the day. I occasionally do some of my own track designs, or look at how existing tracks could be modified, and often the best designs are indeed the short ones. For a long track to have a good flow it needs a lot more space (like Spa), and consequently lot of long tracks are compact, slow, and have no flow. Short tracks can flow well without this problem. I don’t get what the obsession is with the 5km long tilkedromes, I really don’t. Increased maintenance cost for the circuits, higher ticket prices (bear in mind longer tracks rarely mean more grandstands), and worse value for money. I really hope Red Bull don’t go ahead with their plans to expand the red bull ring. Aside from its setting and location, what makes it so brilliant is it’s length. Making it longer for the sake of it will take this away. People still love Brands Hatch (another short layout), and I think a race there (if it were brought to modern standards) would be great.

    Often long tracks almost feel like they’ve been stretched out for the sake of it, and the final sector of Austin Texas is a perfect example of this, as is the final sector of both Sepang and Shanghai, the unnecessary straights in Korea and India, and let’s not even get started about the time the endurance layout was used in Bahrain. These bits add very little to the challenge, I’d even go as far as to say they ruin it.

    This brings me nicely onto my next point. Maybe it’s just my perception, but I don’t recall a time since I started following F1 when there have been so many talks of new races. A new race here, new race there. China is an obvious choice for expansion, however if they do I’d really wish they avoid making the same mistakes they have made with Shanghai. Massive track, bland run-offs making it feel almost desolate. It’s right next to the city of Shanghai, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. There are so many great places and settings in China that they could use, so I hope it’s not built on swampland again.

    1. @strontium, I respect your pov and your arguments are sensible and well put, but my gut reaction is “no”, so many of the great historic tracks had long flat-out sections, long flowing S-bend sequences and tight wiggly bits, I always thought that if I miraculously became richer than Croesus I would build an 8km+- track in a natural valley ampitheatre using a crossover to allow a circuit within a circuit to keep the action in sight of the fans watching from the hillsides. All that extra tarmac would be expensive though.

    2. I don’t agree with cotd, primarly because of lapped cars, but I agree with you @strontium the Tilke tracks don’t flow well and have no real character in them, that said I don’t agree with your reasoning.
      Tilkedromes are what they are because they’ve all been designed with the same parameters in mind. I reckon they just try to incorporate different types of corner different types of sectors and long top speed overtaking spot straights, all into one track in order to fulfil the requirements of their clients. In the end in an effort to give each track more diverse nature, just trying to do everything on the layout, we end up with lots of near identical tracks. Long corners, 90º corners and long straights in one broken layout. All round tracks that suit all round cars and all round drivers. I don’t think Tilke tracks do much for the calendar, it takes the GP out of F1, what’s the point of racing the same track albeit on a different location, week in an week out? Grand Prix’s are where it all started. Looking from the spectacle standpoint, we would benefit with different types of tracks which would play to different strengths, different cars, different drivers, different weekends. Just take the contrast of Monaco and Monza.

      Ps: Tilke has done a great job. I don’t think he’s directly responsible for some events and some layouts, there are some good layouts and some good events but there aren’t any great layouts and great races. Malaysia which was starting to become a classic, proves that the modern approach to track design doesn’t lend it self to enrich f1’s world championship.

    3. As I am from Belgium and go to Spa every year, a big frustration in the race is the lap count.
      Because of the length the number of laps is quite low (around 44 I believe). It’s a bit of a pity as you indeed can’t see the cars that much as on a shorter track.
      But it’s Spa and F1 cars belong on this track and it’s lovely, but some extra laps would be nice!

      1. I agree to a certain extent, however the worst thing about spa is that there is no celebratory lap, so you don’t even get to see the winning car/drivers once they have crossed the line! I went with some friends who couldn’t believe it after the race and were so disappointed.

    4. @strontium – i think the final sector in Sepang is great, never saw a problem with it (except that i couldn’t brake properly into the second last corner on playstation :))

    5. Unicron (@unicron2002)
      6th July 2017, 9:53

      @strontium I’m pretty much with you on all your points – although of course each track has to be viewed in isolation. As you say, you wouldn’t want to see Spa truncated, and you wouldn’t want to see Hockenheim shortened – but unfortunately we did! But then someone made a good point further down that the small lap count is a problem for spectators on the day.

      Totally agree with you about COTA – it needs fewer corners on it’s way back to the end of the lap. Same goes for the old Valencia ‘street’ circuit. The last sector was quick yes, but I feel it just prolonged the agony! And the ‘we’ve got the longest straight’ vanity projects at Shanghai, Yas Marina, Yeongam and Buddh are pretty pathetic. At Shanghai the straight could easily be shortened (but would still remain lengthy) by cutting straight across to the final corner.

    6. I didn’t think it was big secret that undulations often are what makes a track more exciting. Tracks like Shanghai, Sepang and Yeongam are in pancake flat swamps. Drop them on a hilly, Ardennes-like terrain and they could be hugely exciting, provided all the slopes were in the right place. The other way around, rebuild Spa on a flat piece of land and it will feel like a Tilkedrome. So terrain selection is vital if you want to create an exciting track. Flat lands may be cheaper for construction, better for access etc. but it will be very hard to create something special.

      1. Leo B, there are circuits on the calendar that are loved despite having even smaller variations in elevation – Albert Park and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve are both even flatter than Shanghai (just 2.6m and 5.2m respectively, as opposed to 7.4m for Shanghai), with Albert Park having the second smallest variation in elevation on the entire calendar (only Sochi has less variation in track elevation).

        By comparison, Sepang actually has a fairly sizeable change in elevation – 22m, which is more than a number of “classic” tracks (about twice that of Silverstone or Monza, for example), so by your logic that should have made Sepang a fairly interesting track.

    7. Actually tracks were used to be gigantic back in the days…

    8. Long straights and long circuit lengths exist mostly for different reasons.

      Long straights tend to be due to one of the following:
      – a stylistic element of old tracks, which tended to be from an era where long laps were the norm and it didn’t cost much to get in (so the “value for money” still worked for spectators)

      – due to a trend in the 2000s suggesting that a long straight followed by a slow corner would induce overtaking. This stopped being a design feature when Abu Dhabi (which was designed to be as modish and pro-overtaking as possible) produced 6 overtaking moves on its debut, 4 of which were from the same driver. It came too late for Yeongam and Noida, which had already been on the design board by that point, but tracks modified or built after that weren’t using the straight for overtaking gain.

      – Circuit of the Americas is a special case; its long straight is mostly to do with incorporating as much climb as possible into the approach for the first turn. So it’s supposed to be, in part, a different sort of overtaking aid, taking advantage of the area’s topography. Whether this has worked is debatable. Less debatable is its secondary purpose of making the lap more interesting for the driver – in that, it succeeded.

      Long circuits have other reasons (sometimes linked):

      – The track has a history of being long. Old circuits preserve their nature where possible and where the modifiers are sympathetic to track requirements.

      – To fit in more people (Silverstone notably did this, and substantially increased its capacity relative to the previous decade as a result).

      – To give drivers a wider array of challenges.

      – To force a set-up compromise of some sort (so, to challenge the teams).

      I think F1 should visit a variety of long, medium and short circuits, and that each track should make the best of its unique contribution to the calendar. That there is one track like Austria on the calender is excellent. To have 12 like it would be tedious.

    9. Brands Hatch is a truly great circuit, but the cars today are too fast for that track. It’s also too small and the cars would lap the track in under a minute. It would need to be extended or some of the corners (particularly Hawthorn’s) would need to be slower. Same thing with Mosport Park- if F1 cars raced around there, they would lap the circuit in under a minute.

  2. In reference to Mark Webber’s comments, I often see his suggestion of constructor point penalty’s put forward as an alternative but I don’t think that is a solution as it would just penalize some more than others depending on how many points the teams around them in the standings are. A 25 points penalty for example would be massive for Williams & drop them from 5th to 9th in the standings (Ahead of only McLaren) while the same penalty for Red Bull or Ferrari wouldn’t change anything at all.

    I have always felt that the idea of long life components isn’t really a bad one. They used to be swapping engines & stuff 3-4 times a weekend & ending up with things that were costing them a small fortune been scrapped having done less than 20 laps which was rather stupid.

    However I think they need a better way than these grid penalty’s to deal with it, What the solution is I don’t really know.

    1. Now those components get scrapped before they are ever assembled into an engine and they cost a large fortune.

    2. @stefmeister They have to hit it where it hurts. Not a good solution but hear me out, instead of docking points as you suggested, why not discard any constructor points and perhaps drivers points aswell, so a driver could still win the trophy for the GP but earn no points for it as he was running on penalty parts. If you remove constructor points alone, I’m sure that the big teams would still take advantage to pursue the drivers champ. For example Ham and Vettel are fighting for the drivers but Mercedes already clinched the manufacturers, Merc give Ham a brand new PU to win the drivers.

      I think perhaps they should do the Pu’s like the gearboxes, the current system for PU’s is not as fair as the gearboxes, just because there’s always someone trying to be clever and take advantage of the penalty system and inject some Pu’s back on the PU pool, last year after Hamilton’s unfortunate Malaysia blow out, Mercedes injected some Pu’s on his car and he was effectively better off than Nico at the latter stage of the year, this year they’ve tighten it up but still, McLaren have had a go at boosting their Pu pool already.

      1. I haven’t thought this through … but how about only 4 (3 next years) engines a year score points

        1. If that was happening this year, then Mclaren may as well give up now. As they have used so many engines they will not score any more points even if they actually win a race! No, this “solution” wont’ do.

    3. Docking points is questionable, as I can easily see a team using as many power units as they want to win a drivers’ championship. My solution would be to introduce a budget cap on rebuilt engines and engine components. For example, if you need more than 4 ICEs, you can go back to an old one provided that you can rebuild it within a certain budget. And if you can’t, then the current penalty system would apply. In this way you minimise the chances of penalising the driver, you don’t discriminate between big and small teams, and drive efficiencies (i.e. power units that are easy/cheap to rebuild, etc) .

      1. PaulS, it’s already quite common for the engine manufacturers to reuse components in new engines, so I don’t think that it will have that much of an impact.

        @stefmeister, I do agree with you that the idea of penalising teams by taking away WCC points is a measure that would almost certainly have a disproportionately harsh impact on smaller teams, hitting them far harder in terms of lost positions in the WCC – and thus lost revenue – than it would a larger team. I suspect that those who advocate that sort of penalty are those whose teams would probably be least affected by it.

    4. GtisBetter (@)
      6th July 2017, 9:21

      I think you should never take points away that were earned fairly. The grid penalty is rather harmless. Over a whole race the drivers are usually close to being on their normal spot anyway.

  3. I’d like to know where this idea comes from about ‘going backwards’. It seems that ‘forwards’ is more and more becoming associated with Formula E, as there are quite a few reports that manufacturers are more interested in that technology than what’s being used in F1. So, instead of pleasing the manufacturers, F1 could always please the fans instead. And it seems that most fans like loud, powerful cars (though, to be fair, maybe they’re just the fans that are loudest..). So, are manufacturers saying that the fans are ‘backwards’. Sure seems like it.

    1. I don’t know if manufacturers are that interested in the technology, more than they’re interested on the cheap (compared with f1 standards) exposure. They will be interested in the technology side when it stop being a spec-series.

      1. The manufacturers want to win, that’s why they want complexity, they want to earn their merit. Everyone knows that Mercedes is the best engine in F1, now look outside your window and see how many new to 5 year old Mercs you see.

        1. I don’t see many cars from this decade at all. Though I am seeing more older Mercedes, so it seems to be having an impact on the used car market.

    2. There are a lot of fans who get VERY upset actually with those of us who miss the glorious noise.

      I think F1 needs to accept that to a large extent it is in the entertainment business and ensure they create a formula for the new generation of cars that is once more viscerally mind blowing.

      The current cars are clever, I think almost everyone appreciates that, but they are awfully underwhelming at the track.

      I think F1 needs to be scary again.

      Just my view……….(takes cover and prepares for onslaught).

      1. Interesting time for motorsport as a whole.

        The fans have historically been interested in what the manufacturers are trying to achieve – the end result was loud, noisy, and fast. Yet with the advancement of electric technology we now find the interests of manufacturers and the fan at complete polar opposites. A good way to kill F1 and to have motorsport fans leave in their masses is to make the sport an electric one, yet you only have to look at the actions of manufacturers and where their R&D investment goes at present to understand that this is where they are heading.

        The sport must determine what its identity is moving forwards, and soon. I think as much as manufacturers will kick and scream about what direction the sport takes, and even threaten to quit if they don’t get there way, those that run the sport must understand it can afford to lose manufacturers – it cannot afford to lose fans.

        As much as his noises can infuriate at times, Christian Horner is correct. Engines most become more cost effective to the point where its attractive to the Cosworths, Judds and Ilmors of this world to enter. By doing so, whatever changes in the road car landscape, and no matter what manufacturers come and go, the sports DNA will not change.

        The priority for the sport should be fans, teams, manufacturers.

        1. Fans, teams, manufacturers, in that order.

          1. @bamboo I respectfully disagree. A sport priority is should always to its competitors, as in a sport should be a sport whether or not someone bother to spectate or following it. If you want something that should prioritizing the fans, its called entertainment.

            In my opinion the priority orders should be for teams, manufacturers, and fans in that order.

      2. @paulguitar Onslaught of support.
        It’s not like the old retrograde engine technology wasn’t being pushed to the max back in the late 90’s to mid 2000’s where many manufacturers were excited by f1, and so were we.

      3. I’m with you@paulguitar.
        I’m writing this on my iPhone, though still use a rotary phone ringing app.

        (please read this as serious or sarcastic to suit your preferences)

      4. @paulguitar The problem with the fans that mainly loves the deafening sound of old F1 is I think they’re ‘superficial’ for lack of better term that I can think of right now. What I mean is they associate louder noise = more powahh = more speed and refuse to admit to the fact that current silent F1 cars is better at being racing car than older F1 cars as it should be. I think 2017 regulation showed a glimpse of what current ‘pathetic’ V6 era F1 could do compared to the old V10 era if it has tiny portion of freedom in aerodynamics that V10 era enjoyed (the crazy winglets everywhere era).

        I know you said they’re appreciating the current car, but by feeling underwhelmed makes me think they don’t appreciate it as a race car, but only like a show car.

        1. I think it is just the fact that live, the current cars are rather a shadow of the cars from a few years ago. I would not consider myself a ‘superficial’ fan, but having said that, I am certainly less informed than many on here.

          I first went to an F1 race in 1987, and have attended many over the years around the world, between 30 and 35. I last went in 2014. After that, F1 is a TV sport for me now. I can’t see a significant enough difference between being there with the current cars and watching on TV to justify the cost to attend. I find that a shame.

          1. @paulguitar I can see your point of view and since the sound is one (if not the most) interaction you can have with an F1 car it’s easy to feel underwhelmed by current era car.

            But think about this, our technological progress trend in last decade is not about form, but efficiency within the same package. Most of the time it’s more than double of what we have 10 years ago too. Think of your phone. First gen iPhone is out in 2007 and unless you’re a smartphone enthusiast you’ll probably think it’s the same thing as current era smartphone at a glance. Same with android phone, aside from some thinner dimension which you can’t notice without comparison anyway. However the inside of current era phone is much better.

            I’m sure many people (and maybe you) actually already know this, but it’s just hard to accept when you feel your main form of interaction is somewhat degraded, and people who not complaining usually said its an improvement instead. I don’ t think its a coincidence that the other major talking points of complain is comparing the liveries of then and now.

          2. @sonicslv

            Yes, I totally understand what you are saying, you make a good point. I do accept the situation, but I just wonder if perhaps the formula can be tweaked for the next generation of engines to still provide impressive efficiency, but also to come up with something incredible once again in a visceral sense. I accept it might never be quite like the V10 and V12 era, but I suppose I always have Goodwood F.O.S for that…….:)

    3. Fladers, I think that it is a case of those who complain about the noise being the most vocal, and a case that many of those who complain are those who grew up watching the sport in the 1990’s and therefore, to them, loud noise and F1 have become intertwined.

      The problem is that, increasingly, it feels more like the current fans want the sport to turn inwards on itself and to become a self contained nostalgiafest that caters to their whims.

      1. The trouble is that the alternative being offered by the powers that be, due to the continued practical impossibility of budget restrictions, involves there being no F1 at all in the long term.

        I grant that the fans who suggest “going forward” are almost invariably thinking about some sort of more viable third way – be that making budget restrictions feasible, increasing variety so that budgets cease to be the deciding fact, or something else that makes the progressive policy work. However, the powers that be don’t seem to be putting the same level of thought into the matter as those fans. Which is scary.

  4. In reference to COTD, Hockenheim was butchered for many of those reasons & it certainly didn’t make it any better. Likewise the current red bull ring is rubbish compared to the longer original Osterreichring & I’d love to see them bring more of the old layout back.

    I’ve nothing against shorter circuits (Although most of my favorites are on the longer side), But I wouldn’t like to see them push towards making shorter circuits. If there building a new circuit & feel it would work best shorter then do it, But the same is true if they feel a longer circuit is better. It should depend on the land & geography where the circuit is been built & not on a specific push to force everything one way or the other.

    On a related but kind of off topic note… I hate it when touring cars use short versions of circuits. The BTCC for example used to run the GP layout of Silverstone yet now only the short National loop which is actually a pretty rubbish & uninspiring layout imo. DTM don’t run the Nurburgring Gp layout anymore & the short version cuts out whats probably the best part of the circuit (Run down to the Dunlop hairpin & upto/through the Schumacher S). I’d much rather see less laps but watch them run a full circuit like they used to than see them run less laps of the worse layouts of good GP circuits. I love watching WTCC (And DTM back in the day) run the full Nordschleife even though its only 3 laps.

    1. Unicron (@unicron2002)
      6th July 2017, 10:02

      @stefmeister is there anyone that actually likes the Silverstone National Circuit?! I’ve even heard a number of the drivers bemoaning it because it’s just three straights so it’s always dominated by whoever has the most power. I’d much rather see it on the South circuit (is that it’s name) that uses the Wing pit building.

      1. Yes, it’s the South circuit. There’s also a North circuit layout, but it’s rarely used in competition (mostly for occasions when there are two users of the track at the same time, because North and South can be run simultaneously).

  5. Someone should ask Jean Todt if Volvo was at the engine meeting. Assuming the answer is “no”, then ask him what are the implications. blank stare…

    1. Gary, their recent announcement generated just the headlines that they wanted, as in reality Volvo are a fairly minor player in the automotive industry (their output would put them around 27th largest in the world).

      1. The owner of Volvo, Chinese manufacturer Geely could be interested. Regarding the plans to add another Chinese GP it could be very interesting.

      2. Anon – I understand Volvo is a low volume, niche player: I used to cover them professionally so know them well (in their pre Ford and Ford versions).
        My point is not that Volvo would ever participate in F1, but rather that Volvo is indicative of a larger trend in the automobile industry.
        Formula One has hitched its wagon to the automobile industry for team funding and technology, offering itself as a marketing platform. This will be a serious error in the long run as the interests of automobile OEMs are diverging from the interests of F1 fans, at least those who aren’t fans of an all-electric F1, never mind an autonomous, battery-electric F1. At some point Liberty Media and the FIA need to realize that weaning the series of OEM dependency is crucial for long term health.

        1. Why a second race in China? Why? Why? That makes absolutely no sense. If Volvo actually did talk to Todt, wouldn’t they want a GP in Sweden again, even though they are owned by a Chinese company?

  6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    6th July 2017, 8:39

    That’s a great idea by Mark Webber, it’s something I personally find infuriating. I also don’t like grid penalties being carried over from previous race incidents either, a new race weekend should be a fresh page, not taking punishments from an incident that no doubt ruined your previous race as well. That’s what I the penalty points are for. I still get sad to think we were robbed of the opportunity to see Schumi challenge for the win at Monaco in 2012. The line up we see after Q3 should be final.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      6th July 2017, 8:41

      Ignore the ‘I’ before ‘the penalty points.’ Damn phone:

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      6th July 2017, 8:43

      And penalty points equals license points. Jeeze I need a coffee.

  7. I’ve wondered if the answer to attracting engine manufacturers to F1 is to introduce a simple engine championship on top of the drivers and constructors championship with prize money. Points would go to only the top finisher with each engine, for example Baku result would be REN-MERC-FER-HON. You could then do away with the Ferrari “special status” payment as they’ll get an extra pot if they win this championship. You could then also tie the outcome to the engine development token system, e.g. the worst engine gets the most tokens and the best gets the fewest.

    1. Tokens have been completely scrapped because they didn’t bring down the development costs (where the money was being spent).

      1. I think it’s impossible to bring down costs – engine manufacturers will spend what they want to spend regardless! The idea is purely to attract engine manufacturers.

  8. I won’t lie, I enjoy getting two birthday ‘shout-outs’ each year for some reason. Thanks :)

  9. I would like to see a race in Hong Kong. But a second race on the Chinese mainland? 🤢

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