2008 F1 calendar ‘more credible’ than 20 years ago?

Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, start, 2007 | Ferrari MediaI wrote at length about a revealing interview Max Mosley gave recently in which he made this remark:

It’s a far more credible championship [calendar] than it was 20 years ago.

That’s Mosley’s verdict on the modern Formula 1 calendar. Have a look at how the 2008 F1 calendar compares with the 1988 schedule and tell me what you think…

2008 F1 calendar

16th March – Australian Grand Prix – Albert Park, Mebourne
23rd March – Malaysian Grand Prix – Sepang International Circuit
6th April – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
27th April – Spanish Grand Prix – Montmelo, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
11th May – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park
25th May – Monaco Grand Prix – Monte-Carlo
8th June – Canadian Grand Prix – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal
22nd June – French Grand Prix – Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours
6th July – British Grand Prix – Silverstone
20th July – German Grand Prix – Hockenheimring
3rd August – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring
24th August – European Grand Prix – Valencia Street Circuit
7th September – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps
14th September – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza
28th September – Singaporean Grand Prix – Singapore Street Circuit (night race)
12th October – Japanese Grand Prix – Fuji Speedway
19th October – Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai International Circuit
2nd November – Brazilian Grand Prix – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo

1988 F1 calendar

3rd April – Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacarepagua
1st May – San Marino Grand Prix, Imola
15th May – Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
29th May – Mexican Grand Prix, Aut???dromo Hermanos Rodr??guez
12th June – Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
19th June – United States Grand Prix, Detroit
3rd July – French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard
10th July – British Grand Prix, Silverstone
24th July – German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring
7th August – Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring
28th August – Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
11th September – Italian Grand Prix, Monza
25th September – Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril
2nd October – Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez
30th October – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
13th November – Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide

Mosley does have a point when he says that the calendar has a slightly better geographical spread today than 20 years ago.

But look at two of the events missing from the modern calendar – the United States Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix – events in two countries rich in motor racing heritage.

In their place we have events like the Bahrain Grand Prix – held on a glorified kart track in a desert with virtually no crowd. In China, another country with virtually no motor racing tradition, the enormous and soulless Shanghai International Circuit greets the teams.

I’m broadly positive about the new additions to the 2008 calendar. I think F1 needs more variety and the addition of extra street tracks will bring that, and the locations look fantastic. The Abu Dhabi circuit planned for 2009 looks even more special

But Bernie Ecclestone’s approach is always to pick the low-hanging fruit – grabbing fistfuls of cash from countries where the representatives of the people are not as democratically inclined as they might be. I’d rather see him invest some of his time into bringing back races in some of the world’s great motor racing countries – and that means the Americas: the United States, Mexico, and Argentina.

How do you think the 2008 F1 calendar could be improved?

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28 comments on 2008 F1 calendar ‘more credible’ than 20 years ago?

  1. Journeyer said on 11th December 2007, 7:03

    Drop Bahrain for Abu Dhabi, Drop Malaysia for USA or Mexico.

    China is OK with me. It’s built up its reputation for drama in its last 2 GPs.

    Otherwise, this calendar is perfect. :)

  2. I would drop Hungary, then Bahrain. US should come back.

    I would also drop Fuji and bring Suzuka back (for good, not to alternate).

  3. Nathan Jones said on 11th December 2007, 8:20

    i am from oz so i’d love the season to open her in melb (i am 45mins from the track) and end in adelaide (which i’d go over there for it)
    also, consider the ’08 calendar with tracks like barcelona, magny cours and it’s easy to see how the calendar can b fixed, also compare the 2 hockenheim layouts and others that have been ruined over the yrs!
    we may have more races but the circuits are now less challenging, even monaco has had walls moved back in places!

  4. There is a limit to the number of races a season can hold, I wonder then if there is any merit to a two year season?

    Sure some tracks are repeated, some are not, but the points continue with development time in between.

    Could add an interesting dimension.

  5. no one can wait for 2 years to see who the new champion would be :-)

  6. Robert Mckay said on 11th December 2007, 8:41

    Whst’s far less credible about the calendar nowadays is it’s huge reliance on the design and ideas of a single man, Hermann Tilke. People can correct me on this, but I think he’s designed, or at least had a large hand in, the following circuits:

    Malaysia, Bahrain, Turkey, Germany, European (Valencia), Singapore, China and Japan.

    Not to mention the fact he is responsible for the new sector at the “other” European GP at Nurburgring, and is presumably responsible for whatever Abu Dhabi, South Korea, South Africa, India or Antarctica or whoever else is planning to join the calendar soon. It’s practically his world championship now. It’s bad for variety, and most of them are bland and soulless. Maybe this is neccessitated by modern F1, but I refuse to accept that totally. Valencia and Singapore are street tracks and so are hopefully something a bit different from him, but only really Turkey wins any awards for interesting design.

    Surely there’s at least one other person out there who could have a go? A bit of friendly rivalry/competition/development of new ideas could really help F1.

  7. i heard something about a london street race. i think that would be good.

    i no it will never happen but yeah…

  8. Eric M. said on 11th December 2007, 9:21

    “Surely there’s at least one other person out there who could have a go? A bit of friendly rivalry/competition/development of new ideas could really help F1.”

    Yeah, ME! ;) I know it’s far fetched, but one day, just maybe. My background is in civil engineering, and when I get bored with designing roads I sometimes sketch out circuit layouts. All I can say is they are much faster than Tilke’s, and would probably never get FIA approval. :D

    As for Tilke, his involvement in F1 actually extends back to the mid-ninties, when he designed the A1 Ring. And yes, I agree, THAT right there should have been a strong warning of what was to follow…. ;)

    But I agree with what your saying. This monopoly he seems to have on all new designs is frustrating, as I feel his circuit-designing talents are questionable at best. The contract for the design work should be put up for bid, at the very least. But since his designs seem to be popular with Bernie and the FIA, he automatically gets the work from the track owners. Kind if a sad situation, in my opinion.

  9. I’m sorry including street races with plans to reduce engine development and less aerodynamics – equates like alonso someone mving backwards – street races narrow – crashes – safety car laps increase – first qualified – wins race unless crashes into back marker/debris – boring – going to places with low population or low national income – living of the tv revenue – boring – max – bernie – old age pensioners lacking in moral fibre and only intersted in money – we should have F1 in usa and mexico – large centres of population – racing lovers – unfortunately it would make sense and that is sadly lacking in F1 at this moment and for the near future – damn shame when you see some of the new drivers who may lift the fans spirits if he fuddy duddies would allow it – when is mcclarens verdict through – new years day when the press and public are on holiday??

  10. Scott Joslin said on 11th December 2007, 9:38

    I think some of us are getting confused what Keith’s point might be. It is not all about the track characteristics/layout and who designs them. I think the underlying point is regards to the countries and the towns and cities within that country the calender visits. I have mixed opinions about both 1988 and 2008. Neither are perfect so hence I tend to disagree with Max’s opinion (eeeek I hope he doesn’t file a law case against me).

    In 1988 we visited the USA but it was in Detroit who never really embraced the sport back then. Also on the calender was Portugal, which in my opinion was just there because you could get the Jerez within a week so all the drivers would have tennis holidays and some sun. Brazil back in those days at Jacarepagua tended to be under organised and taken for granted by the Brazilians and lacked investment.

    Forward to 2008 and while the circuits were always going to improve I feel we are visiting countries that add nothing to the credibility of the F1 championship – Bahrain I think everyone has mentioned. Malaysia baffles me as to why we go there, especially now we have Singapore. I would also say time is up for Hungary now – it was important to be there 20 yrs ago but unfortunately not now. My final gripe about 2008 is the continual threat of losing Great Britain and France on the calender. Two of the founding nations of the sport continually undermined by the need to have bigger spaces for corporate guests to allow them to eat their prawn sandwiches. Or perhaps that IS what makes a credible championship nowadays.

  11. Harkirat Singh said on 11th December 2007, 11:47

    I think it was very rude of you to ridicule places like Bahrain and China simply because US and Mexico do not feature in the calendar anymore. The solution for your “problem” lies not in trading venues, but in expanding the calendar so that grand prixs happen all year round.

    I know you all will be saying it is impossible to do that, but if you were to actually put your heads to as much use as you had put your fingers for typing all the rude comments, you would figure out that you would need a team that is bigger so that you can accommodate the employees who need to go on leave. The teams will also need to recruit more than two drivers, have maybe 3 or even 4 drivers per team.

    Anyways, you guys continue with your rude comments and posts, as obviously this comment is not going to make any sense to you.

  12. Harkirat,

    I don’t think the intention was to ridicule places like Bahrain and China, merely stating the clinical, and perhaps more sterile, approach and feeling of racing compared to places of old. The article may strike a point for people who remember 20 years ago in F1 racing, but this is just a discursive piece built around Max Moseley’s words, and not so much as a “problem” as you have put it. Certainly not a “problem” as far as I’m aware at least.

    However, expanding the calender so GPs will go on throughout the year won’t happen for many, several reasons. Making a team bigger, for a start, is something that most teams can’t afford – they have problems just getting through a season with the GPs available and with the team size they have. When teams like Super Aguri have to downsize just to survive, team expansion will most likely pulverize them.

    Money is too big a subject for it to happen.

    Then there’s development time, you need part of the year to focus on off-season testing – teams can’t really focus on racing and developing their next car…again, not without great expense and resources.

    I’d like nothing more to see more GPs, but there is a practical limit to everything. So yeah, I’m saying it’s impossible to do it as far as I know.

  13. Steven Roy said on 11th December 2007, 16:23

    In answer to the tilke question. There are two FIA approved track designers. Tilke and a US company. I will see if I can find the article that I read a couple of weeks ago on this subject.

    I was surprised to see someone mentioned along with Herman then it occurred to me. Why does the FIA have to approve a track designer/architect? If I am a billionaire and I hire Norman Foster or anyone to build a track surely the FIA should judge the finished project on its merits without knowing who drew it.

    Why does the FIA have to approve architects?

  14. I agree with Milos that Hungary has perhaps been too long on the calendar , and although I like the track design it isn’t really conducive to good racing action (unless it rains :) ).I’m also not really that keen on the new Hockenheim as although the layout has allowed for some great overtaking moves – there are too many similar moderate speed circuits these days.I’d like to see someone come up with a layout that allows the cars to hit 360kmh and is ridiculously low in downforce but I think these days such speeds might be too much.

    For that matter I suppose Bahrain and China could go too , never liked the latter track since I first saw it.I’d like to see Adelaide and Suzuka back on the calendar too.

  15. Hi people,
    I don’t think it depends only on Bernie. If Argentina, Mexico and USA have problems in investing money to held an F1 race, Ecclestone cannot force them! The fact is that in China, India or Emirates it’s more simple to find money to build tracks and organize races.

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