Start, Yas Marina, 2018

December date planned for 2019 F1 season finale

2019 F1 season

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The 2019 F1 calendar will run two weeks longer than this year’s schedule and finish in December, RaceFans understands.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is set to move forward by one week to March 17th. This will allow for a two-week gap before round three, which will be the 1,000th world championship race, and is expected to be held in China.

The first half of the season will be largely the same as this year, although the future of the German Grand Prix remains in doubt. The race has only been held in even-numbered years since 2014, and its current contract expires after this year’s race. The race promoters want a risk-free deal to hold the event beyond this year.

Moving the season finale in Abu Dhabi back by one week means the 2019 F1 season is set to be the first championship since 1963 to last until December. South Africa’s East London circuit held the last December round of the world championship, three days before the end of the year.

A later finish for the 2019 season will create room in the schedule in October to accommodate the proposed Miami Grand Prix, if it is approved.

The FIA is yet to officially announce the Formula 1 schedule for next season. However F1 CEO Chase Carey told RaceFans this week the new calendar is “getting pretty well-baked”.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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51 comments on “December date planned for 2019 F1 season finale”

  1. @keithcollantine – any word if Vietnam will get a race? It would be a great replacement for Sepang for us Aussies but thought FIA maybe not so happy with the proposed circuit?

    1. @garns Possibly sometime in the future, but not as soon as next season.

      1. @jerejj
        Buggar! I feel conflicted between an F1 fan and traveller – as a traveller you want direct flights, which are 8 hours or under, hotels in the city, walking distance to the track and can take the family on a holiday as well- that’s Melbourne, Monaco, Singapore – could add Bahrain and Abu Dhabi so hotels close to track as well.

        1. Sorry -posted by mistake.
          Then as an F1 fan some of the best tracks aren’t easy to get to- I have done Suzuka and its awesome, but a 2 hour compute each day back to Nagoya. Spa and Silverstone are hard to get to apparently.

          Liberty seem to go for the “easy access to hotels & track, and take the family” model rather than “its bloody hard to get there, but as an F1 fan you will love it” – a combo of the two is needed I think.

          1. @garns I’ve been to both Spa and Silverstone and neither are hard to get to if you give yourself ample time for the masses of traffic. Once you are there, you can camp or stay in hotels/bed and breakfasts near both circuits.

          2. @shimks
            Thanks for that, cool to know. Which one was your favourite of the two?

          3. @garns Spa seemed like such a privilege. A beautiful location. Fantastic views from Degner Curve and other spots. Walking down Eau Rouge at the end of the race was marvelous.

  2. SparkyAMG (@)
    7th June 2018, 12:47

    Initial reaction – ugh.

    I already find it hard enough mustering the motivation to engage with F1 up until the end of November, especially when championships are decided early, so heading all the way into December doesn’t fill me with joy.

    1. @sparkyamg TBH, with this format, it wouldn’t really head all the way into December as only the race itself would take place in December while the practice and qualifying sessions would still take place in November (next year, the first Sunday in December will be the 1st day of the month meaning that the Abu Dhabi GP weekend next season would run from the 29th of November till that day, and not any further into December), so not too big a difference there compared to previous seasons the current one included.

    2. The Dolphins
      7th June 2018, 13:13

      @sparkyamg I am a bit more optimistic. My hope is that the 2019 technical regulations end up working as planned and results in more passing/closer racing and that translates to a closer battle in both the driver and constructor championships. So far this season has shown to be closely matched between Mercedes and Ferrari and with Red Bull punching above their weight. If next season is at least as competitive as it has been so far this season then there’s hope.

      1. I dont expect the changes to do anything at all for competitiveness – some teams will have the budget to develop and thrive with the new regulations, many won’t, so the gap will be much wider.

        Expect next year to be one of complete domination by 1 team, a couple others near the top and then a huge gap to the rest (with them also being well spread)

  3. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    7th June 2018, 13:07

    To be honest, I’m not a big fan of all these things that are happening next year to the calendar. They say they won’t have a larger number of races, so this means either more time waiting at the start of the season or longer gaps between races to stretch it out. If it isn’t broken don’t mess with it

    1. @vettelfan17 Agreed in principle. I wish they’d keep the Australian GP on the weekend of 22-24th rather than bring it forward by a week so that the first four ‘non-European’ races of the season would take place within a 6-week period like this and last season rather than a 7-week period like in 2016.

      1. @jerejj I agree with you. I also think Bahrain should have a 5-7th April 2019 date as well

    2. @vettelfan17 I don’t mind more races personally (up to 25 seems the max to me). I always feel the offseason is too long anyway, and I love back to back races with a rest weekend after that.

      The only thing for me is, let’s not add tracks that suck. A track like Paul Ricard to me is just pointless. The proposed Miami layout doesn’t look exciting either. The USA has great tracks like Road America, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen and Belle Isle. Let’s use those instead…

      Also, a longer season might call for some changes to the championship itself, like regional championships or a some sort of playoff format so that every race has a meaning to it rather than being forgotten as ‘one of many’. Maybe a 3 driver per team (two cars) rule could be interesting strategically as teams have to decide which drivers to run when. I dunno, just thinking out loud here.

      1. @jeffreyj Interested to understand why you see Paul Ricard as a pointless addition? (I know it was a Bernie deal and he has an ownership stake via one is his business).

        1. Well, it’s just my personal preference obviously, but for several reasons.

          First and foremost, it’s basically a giant parking lot with a track painted on it. This means that if a driver misses a corner, he’s not penalized in any way because it’s just tarmac with blue lines on it, which makes it very unchallenging to drive and basically risk-free at all times.

          Secondly the track lay-out doens’t invite good racing. I only know from simracing but it has very limited overtaking opportunities for F1 cars. Even the chicane, halfway down the mistral straight, isn’t really a good corner to overtake in F1 cars (GT’s is a bit of different story).

          Finally, when you watch a race on TV there, the asphalt with blue painted lines just hurts eyes just looking at it, it’s very erratic. The stands are few and far between and don’t really create an atmoshpere like in Brazil, Monza or even Hockenheim (they might build some temporary ones of course, we’ll see)

          The weather is nice though.

          1. @ju88sy I will add that DRS overtakes that happen before the corner might happen if it is strong enough. But yeah, those aren’t the most exciting ones imho.

          2. @jeffreyj Thanks for explaining, agree on the wide run off areas, what’s so hard about putting some gravel in! Possibly as a test track for many years gravel has been avoided…

            I’m at the French GP this year (as part of a crazy triple header road-trip picking up French, Austrian and British GPs), intrigued to see how it compares as an event and race with this years cars.

          3. @ju88sy Going to three GP weekends in a row?! That’s awesome! I think the British GP will give you the best ‘F1 atmosphere’ (and possibly the worst weather!) and the RedBull ring provides great viewing spots in absolutely gorgeous surroundings. I envy you now haha, have fun man!

      2. I have to disagree with the playoff thing for F1, this for me would ruin everything ( NASCAR is a bloody mess partly due to this) , this devalues races and victories outside the playoff. For me this is really a turn off

        1. @mmertens Just because NASCAR did it wrong, doesn’t mean the concept is bad. If done properly it can keep the season fresh with suspense to the last race.

          Other than that I was just thinking out loud really. Imho if the season is 9 or 10 months long with 25+ races, something keeping it fresh would be needed. Bringing it back to around 18 races or less isn’t going to happen. Liberty Media are running a business to make money and GP’s (especially in markets that are relevant to their corporate sponsors) generate money. So their goal is to engage fans and keep them emerged throughout the entire 10 months (if not 12)

          1. Thanks for the reply, I understand your reasoning, but I think that this is just as artificial as DRS, or reversed grids, for example, and that for me devalues the sport and even if they boost the audience for the casual viewer in short term, they tend to be detrimental on the long term. Some years we might have championships that go down to the wire, and some that don’t. I don’t think that all champions must be decided on the last lap of the last race in a forced way, their are much better when decided naturally as in 2008. But I agreed with what you say about the circuits though, thanks

      3. @jeffreyj

        some sort of playoff format so that every race has a meaning to it

        I see it the opposite way, at least as far as NASCAR’s format is concerned. A play-off makes the final races vastly more important than the earlier ones.

    3. @vettelfan17 well, F1 is kinda broken. Or it was, and they’re putting a lot of effort to fix it. Obviously, not everything will work in the end but I like the fact that they’re trying.

      1. @m-bagattini
        Matteo – I think F1F’s that have a real passion for the sport can see pro’s & cons. Liberty are new to this and I really think they may have thought it might have been easier than it turned out.

        I have said this before, but in Sepang last year we had a table on F1 fans (12 of us) at the hotel from all over the world and Chase joined us for maybe 20 min, shouted 2 drinks each, had a drink himself, but asked many questions- where are you from, how many races do you get to, what tickets to you purchase …. and the likes. BE would have never shouted us a drink haha! I think they are trying real hard, Ross Brawn will help that ……… and its all good :) (we hope)

        1. @garns what a cool experience. I would kill to see those mustaches dipping in an Old Fashioned!

          Anyway, I agree. We can see pros and cons, and I’m not blindingly liking everything I see: but I appreciate the effort and I try to understand that my way of living F1 is not the only one nor the “right” one: there are tons of shades of being a fan – or a customer for the company governing F1.

          1. @m-bagattini
            Yes it was mate- something we didn’t expect- and yes, the moustache looked as good in the flesh :) When the head of F1 buys you a beer, it does taste a little better lol!

            You are correct, we all have our own ‘ideals’ on what Formula One means to us. For Tifosi such as yourself you go for Ferrari no matter who is the driver. Team loyalty. I am a Dan Ricciardo fan, I have many Red Bull t-shirts, his helmet, hats, a wheel nut, photos- all signed – but if he goes elsewhere I follow that team now- I follow drivers, not teams (except wanting McLaren to come good)

        2. @garns what a cool experience. I would kill to see those mustaches dipping in an Old Fashioned!

          Anyway, I agree. We can see pros and cons, and I’m not blindingly liking everything I see: but I appreciate the effort and I try to understand that my way of living F1 is not the only one nor the “right” one: there are tons of shades of being a fan – or a customer for the company governing F1.

    4. There’s so many mixed messages coming out at the moment.

      More races, less races, more new venues, longer season, less races, new formats, revised regulations and the list goes on.

      There uses to be a marketing technique where governments in particular would “leak” ideas to gauge the reaction of the voters and they’d make policy on the fly to cater to populist views. The sort of thing coming out of liberty over the last few weeks smacks of that sort of thing.

      1. @dbradock So instead of “leaking” they just plainly spell it out and wait for a reaction (which where I come from does seem mopre common, to this day)?

  4. @jeffreyj
    I think 25 may be too many for the teams with logistics – great for us fans of course.

    If they make the season too much longer they hardly get time to make the new car for the following year. I know they have a development team working on the next year but there are always guys like Adrian Newey that needs to be part of both.

    What do you mean by the Regional Championship idea? Meaning drivers from lower categories competing for ‘Regional Champion’?

    1. @garns I think by ‘Regional Championship’ he’s referring to the races being grouped by region, which wouldn’t work entirely, though, due to climatic reasons like, for example, with the North Americans.

      1. @jerejj
        I cant seem to see things like that working to be honest. NBA and NFL do things like this and while I don’t follow these we see them on TV and its painful – I thought our new guy (Ben Simmons ??) was in the final play offs, but it was a regional final and if they won had another 40 games or so…………..

        F1 is the best of the best- no more, no less!! Its the best 15 drivers in the world and a handful of rich dads sons (or dad has a rich mate). LOL

    2. @garns If you run 12 back to backs with a weekend off in between and stay in the same region it would be fine I think. You’d be on the road for ten days (with cars and other logistics for moving from China directly to Japan for example) and then you’d be ‘home’ for the next 10 days. Teams might have rotate team personnel like mechanics, catering and PR people but that’s fixable (and creates jobs in F1!) but for the drivers, it should be quite doable.

      As for regional championships, I mean geographical @jerejj says. The season could start in the Americas in March and April, go through Europe including places like Russia and Baku from may till August/september and then finish it off with the Asian Pacific and desert races towards the end. Races could also remain spread out through the year as they are now and just count against the regional championship they are in (hope that makes sense).

      As for the NBA, you clearly don’t know how it works and that’s fine, but you can’t then say it doesn’t work. Basically, all 30 teams play each other throughout the season, but there are two standing table’s: east and west. After 82 games the regular season is over. The top 8 teams in each conference then play in a bracket-elimination type tournament (like the two halves of the World Cup or the Championsleague, after the group stages) and produce an Eastern conference champion and a Western conference champion. Those two meet in the NBA finals, which are currently going on between the Caveliers and the Warriors. This type of championship provides suspense and ton’s of interesting narratives all to the very last day of the year. It keeps what is otherwise a very long season, fresh and exciting as it keeps delivering games and stretches that are pivotal in one way or another. By the way, the 76ers (with your mentioned Aussie rookie of the year, Ben Simmons) are in the East. They made the playoffs but were eliminated in the 2nd round of the Eastern Conference playoffs (also called the Eastern conference semi finals). I don’t know much about the NFL, NHL or MLB but I assume those leagues operate similarly.

      1. Andrew in Atlanta
        7th June 2018, 21:55

        Not geographic division with NFL and MLB but same basic concept, 2 leagues in baseball and 2 conferences in ‘football’ baby otherwise same playoff idea with a few wild cards and top qualifiers get a bye week to start.

        Harder to do with racing as NASCAR has shown. Plus tracks would prefer a little spacing between events, the teams not so much but the promoter prob would like the exclusivity of saying F1 is in town at their track without everyone thinking well they were just here too. Mexico is not a big fan of being stacked with Austin supposedly, and it seems there was a decent amount of cross border attendance.

  5. I think the season’s getting too long.

    The past few years i’ve been starting to feel a bit burnt out on F1 a month before it finally ends so I fear it going a few weeks longer is going to see me starting to really zone out well before the final race.

    Season should run March-October & be no more than 18 races IMO. That was about perfect because the season always ended with me wanting more so that after a good winter break I was super hyped & ready to go again for the next season. As the season has got longer with 19-21 races I find that by the end rather than wanting more I just want it to be over so more races/longer season isn’t a positive IMO.

    1. @stefmeister I don’t find the season to be too long with 19-21 races. I’ve never felt burn out on F1 at the end of a season, although, I’ve felt that to a certain extent with Ice Hockey (another sport that I follow and have followed closely for a long time), in which the games take place on a regular basis of every other day (and can take place on any of the seven weekdays) unlike in F1 where the races take place on one weekday only, and that, of course, is Sunday. Furthermore, for most of the season, they take place on every other weekend. Also the number of games for a single team alone in a Hockey league, or Football, or Basketball, etc., for that matter, is significantly higher than the number of races in F1.

    2. @stefmeister, I don’t feel burnt out as you put it but I do agree with you about the number of races and the period they cover. I think March to the end of October is fine. I think it’s crazy that they want to run it on to December. However, that’s a by-product of possibly having 22 races next year.

      I think 18-20 is ideal. Certainly no more. If they want new races then drop some existing ones on poor circuits. I don’t mean places like Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Spa. Mind you I would not mind seeing Monza swapped with Imola.

  6. So does that keep F1 free from clashes with WEC / FE? Or just eat further into their winters and make it more difficult.

    1. @eurobrun TBH, I don’t think it’d make any difference to that aspect. Furthermore, it’s more or less impossible to entirely avoid even a single weekend clash with the two series’ you brought up as there are only so many weekends available for the races of not only these three series’ but all the FIA-series’ to take place, so weekend clashes are always inevitable anyway. Additionally, it isn’t that big a deal after all.

      1. Andrew in Atlanta
        7th June 2018, 22:01

        Are you sure it isn’t a big deal? There have been multiple meetings and pressure from multiple players to make sure the events don’t overlap and have moved previously approved schedules to get rid of overlap. Not having the FIA top series in the same weekend has been a big push of the FIA. I think this year has 1 overlap, Canada and Zurich FE this weekend and I believe they had tried to move Zurich but no dice.

  7. Any USA fans on here who can help me out? I was checking the ESPN schedules for the race weekend, and I see NOTHING until a late broadcast of the race on Monday! Hell, Liberty Group, you buy the rights to F1, you sell the broadcast rights to ESPN and they are not going to even show the race! The schedule shows BASEBALL! I will admit, I “stream” my tv via SLING, and the ESPN schedule does not seem to be correct until the day of the event, but what is going on?

    1. According to Hulu,
      Practice 1 airs tomorrow at 0955 EST via ESPN U
      Practice 2 airs tomorrow at 1355 EST via ESPN U
      “Practice” (2?) airs again on June 9 at 1055 via ESPN 2
      Qualifying airs June 9 at 1355 via ESPNEWS
      Race on June 10 at 2100(?!) via ESPNEWS

      As you can see, you have to hunt around for the broadcasts on the various ESPN sub channels. If you don’t have a streaming service like Hulu, and if you don’t have a high-end cable package with these secondary ESPN channels, you may be SOL. Also, airing the race at 9pm the day it’s run is ridiculous. Basically, I have to stay off the internet all day.

      1. Andrew in Atlanta
        7th June 2018, 22:03

        Esp when Canada has been on Fox and I think once on NBC broadcast in the past as it is a good time zone to air mid afternoon without much competition.

      2. The race will be live on ABC at 1:30E.

  8. Hey look, a change of calendar! I’m sure nobody’s going to be offended by th- oh, wait.

  9. I don’t understand people that say they are “burn out” with F1 if it goes for too long. If the championship is wide open, I’m all for having 25 races a season! if a championship fight ends up like in 2013, then sure, it’s a stretch until the season finale but it’s still something I want to watch on the telly!

    1. Because it’s like having Christmas twice a year. 20 races is quite enough to keep a GP special. I appreciate that many fans will disagree though and just want more.

  10. I’d be happy with anything if the last race was not in abu dhabi. That horrible circuit is just so bad.

  11. Why not some snow on races, I wouldn’t mind that!

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