We take a look at the events that have been chopped and changed including the loss of one round each for Italy and Germany – coinciding with the retirement of Michael Schumacher – and the sad loss of the mighty Suzuka.
|2||8/4||Malaysia||Sepang International Circuit|
|3||15/4||Bahrain||Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir|
|4||13/5||Spain||Montmelo, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|6||10/6||Canada||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|8||1/7||France||Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours|
|16||7/10||China||Shanghai International Circuit|
|17||21/10||Brazil||Aut?âãÆ?é??dromo Jos?âãÆ?é?® Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo|
There are four major changes to the calendar for 2007:
- The return of the Belgian Grand Prix at magnificent Spa-Francorchamps
- The loss of the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola
- The loss of the European Grand Prix and with it the relocation of the German Grand Prix from the Hockenheimring to the Nurburgring
- And the switch of venues for the Japanese Grand Prix from the high-speed sweeps of Honda’s Suzuka to the Toyota’s revised Fuji Speedway
Those having passed, the 2007 calendar reverts back to something closer to the 2005 schedule. Australia is the first round again but now Spain instead of San Marino will open the ‘European season’.
The British and French races pair up as a double-header again amid speculation that they may eventually share a single slot on the calendar, alternating Grands Prix each year, though Silverstone’s owners are not convinced by the plan.
As a result there will only be 17 stops on the 2007 tour – a further step back from the high watermark of 19 two years ago. The public appetite for more races is pitted against the teams’ reluctance to supply them.
It is less than half the number of races in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup (which had 36) at a time when F1’s appeal to fans and drivers compared to NASCAR is coming under greater scrutiny.
There will be two three-week breaks, after the Australian and Hungarian races (the latter being the semi-traditional ‘August break). Worse, there will be a four week delay between the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix, leading some people to believe an 18th race might yet be slotted in in place of the San Marino round.
Let’s hope it happens because, with a very long off-season compared to other sports and some large holes in the calendar, F1 does not have as commanding a presence in the sports schedules that many feel it should.