With two new rounds already set to appear on the 2020 F1 calendar, two races will have to go if the championship is going to remain at its current 21 events.Formula 1 back again next year.
So which rounds would you like to see keep their places?
Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya
As well as being the home of Spain’s round of the world championship since 1991, the Circuit de Catalunya has also become F1’s exclusive pre-season testing location in recent seasons.
But as local hero Fernando Alonso first dropped out of championship-contending teams, then left the sport entirely, crowds have visibly dwindled at the track. Notwithstanding the increasingly impressive efforts of Carlos Sainz Jnr, who is signed to a multi-year deal at McLaren.
While the circuit president Vicence Aguilera ha told RaceFans this year he is very confident of keeping the race, there is a clear danger this country which held two grands prix per season as recently as 2012 will have none at all next year.
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British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Speculation that Silverstone could lose its round of the world championship was a running theme of grand prix seasons for may years. However its future appeared to be secured for the long-term in 2009 when, in the wake of a disastrous bid by Donington Park to lure the race away, the British racing Drivers’ Club inked a 17-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone.
However the deal contained Ecclestone’s usual ‘escalator’ which bumped the race hosting fees up year-on-year. By 2017, after Liberty Media took over from Ecclestone and CVC, the BRDC was sufficiently concerned about the costs of holding the race to trigger an exit clause in its contract.
That means next Sunday’s British Grand Prix will be the last unless a new deal is signed. It’s hard to imagine the country and track which held the first ever round of the world championship being without one next year, particularly given the huge popularity of Lewis Hamilton, emerging junior talents Lando Norris and George Russell, plus the fact the majority of F1 teams are based in the UK.
But if no deal is done then F1 will have its own version of ‘Brexit’.
German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring
Like Britain, Germany is a long-established round of the world championship and one which doesn’t lack for local interest and success, thanks to Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg and Mercedes.
But like Spain, interest in the race has noticeably dwindled since the departure of its biggest star – Michael Schumacher – and it has fallen from two rounds to one, potentially to become none.
Mercedes has stepped in to back this year’s race, but will they continue to next year? The team’s future in F1 is not guaranteed past 2020, so everything is up in the air.
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Italian Grand Prix, Monza
Not only has Italy never failed to host a round of the world championship, almost all of them have been at Monza. It also has the undeniable appeal of Ferrari to help bring the spectators in, as well as a unique and historic circuit next to a beautiful city. Could F1 bear to do with out it?
However the sport has suffered a slump in viewership in Italy. Liberty Media admitted the sport’s popularity took a hit last year when broadcasts moved from free-to-air television to a pay-TV channel. There’s a lesson for Britain’s round of the world championship there, too…
Mexican Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
While the other four races under threat can all claim, to varying degrees, to be heritage European venues, Mexico is different. While the country has a long history of world championship F1 races, stretching back to 1963, it only recently returned to the calendar, following an absence of more than two decades.
Since its 2015 return a change of government in mexico has put the race’s future on under threat. The money currently spent on bringing F1 to town is being earmarked for an infrastructure development project.
The future of Mexico’s round of the world championship therefore rests on finding another source of funding, and the extent of Liberty Media’s desire not to lose a highly popular race in North America, a region it has indicated it is keen to expand in.
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I would hate to see any of the five go. But nor do I particularly want to see the calendar go up to 23 races, which will happen if all five remain.
So out of the five I would least like to lose Britain and Italy, these being F1’s longest-running events. And while I regret how badly the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was butchered when it return to the calendar four years ago – with not a single quick corner left intact – the enormous popularity of this race in a part of the world F1 is under-represented in should earn it a reprieve.
I don’t have a bad word to say against either of the other rounds, other than that both have suffered from the effects of ‘modernisation’ in recent years, particularly the Hockenheimring. But if two have to go, and I’m afraid they probably do, then it’ll have to be those for now. However there are other races with contracts extending far further into the future which F1 could certainly stand to lose before its races in Spain and Germany.
Which of these races should stay on the calendar next year? Cast your vote and have your say below.
Which of these races should stay on the 2020 F1 calendar?
- Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya (4%)
- British Grand Prix, Silverstone (32%)
- German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring (15%)
- Italian Grand Prix, Monza (33%)
- Mexican Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (17%)
- None of the above (0%)
Total Voters: 317
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