Start, Hockenheimring, 2018

Formula 1 calendar expected to shrink to 20 races next year

2019 F1 season

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The 2019 F1 calendar is expected to feature 20 rounds, one fewer than this year, RaceFans understands.

Official details on the Formula 1 schedule for next year have taken longer to appear than they did 12 months ago. The first 2018 calendar draft appeared in June of last year.

RaceFans has been informed the 2019 calendar will be announced ahead of the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix, which takes place on August 26th.

Formula One Management is believed to be finalising details of future contracts before making its announcements. Two races on this year’s schedule – the German and Japanese rounds – do not have deals for 2019.

A 20-race schedule for next year would mean only one of these two races being retained for 2019. The German Grand Prix was previously being held on alternate, even-numbered years at the Hockenheimring.

The Suzuka circuit, which hosts the Japanese Grand Prix, is owned by F1 engine manufacturer Honda. it will supply the Red Bull team next year, and is therefore unlikely to be considering dropping its race.

However the strong crowd at last month’s German Grand Prix has renewed hopes the race will not be absent from the calendar for long.

F1 is also working on a new street race in Miami in 2020, following the failure to agree terms for a race next year.

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Start, Hockenheimring, 2016
The crowd was thin at the Hockenheimring two years ago…
Start, Hockenheimring, 2018
…but noticeably stronger at last month’s race

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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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19 comments on “Formula 1 calendar expected to shrink to 20 races next year”

  1. Jonesracing82
    10th August 2018, 8:27

    As a way for teams to save $ & also increase the value of each race why not cut back to 16 races for example? Have never understood with these cars costing more to run than ever before yet there are more races. 16 races would increase the value of each race as there would be less of them which adds to the prestige whereas now there is a race every other weekend.
    As for which races to cut, take your pick of any of the Tilkedromes i don’t anyone would miss them at all.

    1. I always thought that was a healthy number of races for a season. I would advocate having some races on a biennial basis and some annual.

    2. Actually, the incremental financial* cost of 1 race is not that high; not to F1 and not to the teams.
      The incremental income is very high though; TV rights, advertising, Paddock Club, and hosting fees. The latter makes the real difference. If a race is dropped than we/fans do not want that to be a low hosting fee race (e.g. Monaco) but one of the ‘new world’ races. But those are exactly the races which bring in the most cash.

      * of course, the non-financial burden (fatigue/stress/personal life/etc) is extremely high for every additional race.

      1. @coldfly Personally (and speaking as an old school over 50 fan), I would love to see Monaco go away, Baku has proven that you can have a street race that *works* rather than the thrill of close to the barrier racing that has little or no chance of overtaking without a safety car.

        Unusually for a fan my age, I like change in the sport (I have seen a lot over the years) as long as it is for the right sporting reasons.

        1. @ahxshades, your comment about liking to see change as being a characteristic that is “unusual for a fan my age”, but in many ways I would say that it is a rare characteristic in fans of a quite wide age range.

          Historical polls by a number of the more common motorsport magazines from the early 1990s to today have shown that most fans have a very strong association with what was occurring about 20-30 years earlier, usually saying that the best races were taking place in that era and that the drivers from around that period of time were the best drivers ever.

          When you look at how the polls in publications such as Autosport or F1 Racing would stack up, in the early 1990s the polls for best driver usually placed drivers from the 1960s and early 1970s right at the top, whilst a few years later you started to see some of the drivers from the 1960s start slipping down the ranks and drivers from the mid to late 1970s starting to move up.

          As you move closer to the present day, it is now drivers from the 1980s and 1990s that dominate, and in particular Senna, who now dominate the polls. Whereas, about 10 or 15 years ago, most fans were harking back to the turbocharged cars of the 1980s and complaining that the more modern cars were no match for those ones, now fans hark back to the cars of the early 1990s (though, at least on the positive side, it does stop some of the utter rubbish that was circulated about the old turbo cars from still being circulated).

          Similarly, there does seem to be a bit of a reactionary trend amongst some sectors of the F1 fan base, and to some extent it does feel a little as if some use the criticism of Tilke designed circuits as a proxy for an implied attack on holding a race in certain countries. There does seem to be a bit of a preconception amongst some fans that older “traditional” circuits should produce better races, even if that hasn’t been the case in more recent years, whilst there are some venues where you sense that people seems to look for flaws in the races there that they would overlook at more “traditional” venues because they want to criticise those races.

    3. 16 was always the right number for me too.

  2. 20 races is fine. I would like one every week – but that’s just my personal greed, and it would probably get me in trouble at home blocking a few hours out every Sunday.

    The important thing is now we have Liberty booking tracks that they maybe look at the mix of tracks and lose some of the “less interesting” venues from the calendar. I know they need to make money as well, but one can hope.

  3. It was interesting listening to Chase Carey on the quarterly earnings call. The equity analysts following Liberty Media don’t understand the Formula One business model, and are quite gullible. Chase Carey is a master at deception and obfuscation; not in an “illegal” or unethical way, but rather he knows how to string-along research analysts that lack a deep understanding of how the sport and the business really work.

    The analysts are going to be sorely dissapointed when they realize that there will never be 30 F1 races per season, that race hosting fees are going down, not up, and that Liberty Media is going to have to take on more risk in race promotion as opposed to simply receiving $25 – $30 million bank-wires every other week. And does Chase Carey not realize that there is no such thing (in place today) as the “Concorde Agreement”?

    1. And does Chase Carey not realize that there is no such thing (in place today) as the “Concorde Agreement”?

      According to wikipedia the current concorde agreement ends in december 2020?

      1. There is only an agreement for a ‘framework for implementation of the Concorde Agreement’ signed between FOM & FIA (link).
        AFAIK the teams never entered into a joint agreement with FIA?FOM, and they are merely committed one-on-one with FOM (typically Bernie).
        @socksolid

  4. It was interesting listening to Chase Carey on the quarterly earnings call. The equity analysts following Liberty Media don’t understand the Formula One business model, and are quite gullible. Chase Carey is a master at deception and obfuscation; not in an “illegal” or unethical way, but rather he knows how to string-along research analysts that lack a deep understanding of how the sport and the business really work.

    The analysts are going to be sorely dissapointed when they realize that there will never be 30 F1 races per season, that race hosting fees are going down, not up, and that Liberty Media is going to have to take on more risk in race promotion as opposed to simply receiving $25 – $30 million bank-wires every other week. And does Chase Carey not realize that there is no such thing (in place today) as the “Concorde Agreement”?

  5. I, for one, find the current 20+ GP seasons too long already. Maybe 17 or 18 would be just right. One hypothetical solution could be derived from the fact that Hockenheimring seems to be more than happy to host a World Championship race just every other year. If this philosophy was adopted by other circuits, the 25 or more race tracks (that are allegedly at least somewhat interested in joining the calendar) could be all accommodated. Perhaps there could be alternating regional races in southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam) or Benelux (Belgium, Holland, Denmark) or Central Europe (Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic) Middle East (Abu-Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar) or elsewhere?

    1. @gpfacts Denmark isn’t part of the Benelux, though, while Malaysia has been dropped recently, so, therefore, it isn’t going to come back if ever then not anytime soon at least. I also can’t really see the Czech Republic or Qatar as a potential candidate to be an F1 race host.

      1. Uhhh…would Greater Benelux be OK then? I was just stating a fact that for myself these extended seasons are not ideal, and proposing an idea that it could be somewhat feasible to look at alternate regional races as possible solution to increasing interests in holding F1 races…hypothetically. That’s all.

  6. 20 Vs., 21. Only a difference of one race there, so not much of a difference either way.

  7. I am happy with 20 races but I have never thought there should be any more than this. It just puts too much strain on the teams. It’s also quite difficult to find time to watch 20+ live races. Although I only see the highlights of some.

    I would not be disappointed if they went down to 18 but I think this is the best workable range all round.

  8. It’s so dad that Sepang has gone. Though now that Mahathir is back in charge there might be a chance, it was a signature policy of his I recall.

  9. Likely 2019 calendar:
    Australia – 17 March
    Bahrain – 31 March
    China – 14 April
    Azerbaijan – 28 April
    Spain – 12 May
    Monaco – 26 May
    Canada – 9 June
    France – 23 June
    Austria – 7 July
    Britain – 14 July
    Hungary – 28 July
    Belgium – 25 August
    Italy – 8 September
    Singapore – 22 September
    Japan – 29 September
    Russia – 13 October
    USA – 27 October
    Mexico – 3 November
    Brazil – 17 November
    Abu Dhabi – 1 December

    It’s likely that Singapore will be twinned with Japan next year and then Russia will follow (as was the case in 2015). The Belgian to Abu Dhabi rounds should have the same slot as the last half of the 2015 calendar

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