2009 F1 calendar will end in Abu Dhabi

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 3, 470150

Update: the official 2009 F1 calendar has now been published.

Brazil’s Grand Prix circuit Interlagos may have had its contract extended to 2015, but next year it will lose the role of season finale it has held (with one exception) since 2004.

From 2009 F1’s last race will be at the new venue of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The circuit (you can see a diagram and recent photographs from the construction site here) will be a unique ‘hybrid’ street and permanent road course with a mix of quick bends, angular street track corners and typical Hermann Tilke long-straight-into-hairpin combos.

Here’s how next year’s calendar might look:

It’s unusual for a new circuit on the calendar to be introduced as the last race of the season, but not unheard of. It last happened on two consecutive years, 1984-5, when Estoril, Portugal and Adelaide, Australia respectively joined the calendar. Alain Prost won the former (losing the championship to Niki Lauda in the process) and Keke Rosberg (father of Nico) the latter, the final Grand Prix victory for the 1982 world champion.

The race will be sponsored by Etihad Airways, former title sponsor of Spyker whose logos now appear on the rear wings of the Ferraris. The venue will also have a Ferrari Theme Park with roller coasters, karts, rally cars and other attractions.

With the United States Grand Prix tipped to make a return (providing a sponsor is found) the 2009 F1 calendar could have up to 20 races.

Rnd Event Circuit
1 Australian Grand Prix Albert Park, Mebourne
2 Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang International Circuit (night race?)
3 Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
4 Spanish Grand Prix Montmelo, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
5 Turkish Grand Prix Istanbul Park
6 Monaco Grand Prix Monte-Carlo
7 Canadian Grand Prix Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal
8 United States Grand Prix Indanapolis Motor Speedway
9 French Grand Prix Magny-Cours or Paris?
10 British Grand Prix Silverstone
11 German Grand Prix* Nurburgring
12 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring
13 European Grand Prix Valencia Street Circuit
14 Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps
15 Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale Monza
16 Singapore Grand Prix Singapore Street Circuit (night race)
17 Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka**
18 Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai International Circuit
19 Brazilian Grand Prix Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo
20 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Island

*The German round of the championship is alternating between the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. However the Hockenheimring owners have so far refused to share the title of ‘German Grand Prix’ with the Nurburgring owners. Last year they got around this by calling the Nurburgring race the ‘European’ Grand Prix. However with the new Valencia street circuit holding that title it will not be an option in 2009. If the conflict is not resolved, the title of ‘Luxembourg Grand Prix’, used for races at the Nurburgring in 1997 and 1998, could be revived.

**The Japanese Grand Prix is alternating between Fuji Speedway and Suzuka Circuit.

Read the latest developments on the future calendar

Keep track of all the test sessions, car launches races and more in 2008 and beyond with the F1Fanatic.co.uk Formula 1 calendar for Google Calendar:

2009 F1 season

26 comments on “2009 F1 calendar will end in Abu Dhabi”

  1. I think we will have 19 races in 2009, as the US GP won’t return that year. I may be wrong but that is what I think will happen.

    Having so many races in such a revolutionary year for Formula 1 should be great!

  2. M Smith, I don’t mean to contridict you, but there are many of us who are most optimistic that that USGP will indeed return for 2009. I know Tony George and his bunch are most keen on getting the series back at Indy, and with 2009 being the centennial year of the IMS, he wants it to happen now.

    Apparently, as Keith mentioned, the issue that will tip the scale one way or another is the ability to secure a title sponsor. I don’t know who they have spoken to in that regard, but I believe many of you have suggested Microsoft as a possibility, as they now have some technology in each car on the grid from what I can understand.

    Once again, i’m not trying to argue with anyone about bringing F1 back to America. I just hope you all see that F1 dose have a dedicated American fan base- including new, younger fans such as myself who want a GP to attend in our country.

    As for the season not ending at Interlagos anymore, dose anyone think this could affect a close championship race differently? With things coming down to the wire last season, could things play out differently being run on this new track in the future?

  3. Don’t forget that French GP ended its contract last year and Bernie said that the race is held this year only because "there were not other places". I think he did not mean "other places in France" but other places in the world. So next year, with Abu Dhabi joining the calendar, there will be no place anymore for the race in France. The calendar could have 19 races if – as correctly said in the article – US find money.

  4. Nico Savidge
    29th March 2008, 20:15

    So let me get this straight – instead of ending the season with thousands of rabid Brazilian fans, Bernie wants the last race to be held in front of empty grandstands with oil barons and royals? Well, at least we can hope for a return of the USGP…

  5. Nico: not exactly a nice adjective for us…

    Keith: Just a fix… Rosberg won 1982… Jones won 1980…
    Oh, and does anybody have a guess why it will be called "Abu Dhabi Grand Prix", instead of "United Arab Emirates Grand Prix"?

  6. Is Abu Dhabi a dry country like Bahrain? It’s lame enough that they don’t get champagne on the podium in Bahrain, but the newly crowned world champion should be able to drink whatever he wants.

    Next week though, if Kimi wins again, someone should hand him goggles on the way up to the podium. Wouldn’t want him to be blinded again.

  7. Cheers Daniel fixed it. Not sure about the podium Pip but it might well be another one where they have to spray pomegranate juice….

  8. I’m sure it’ll be another race where pomegranate juice (or some local equivalent) is the podium beverage of choice – alcohol is forbidden to Islamic people and Abu Dhabi is an Islamic country. Bahrain is more liberal than Abu Dhabi in that Bahraini luxury hotels often allow guests to drink in the hotel itself, whereas most Islamic countries don’t even go that far.

    As for Kimi, perhaps he should go visit Sebastien Bourdais’ optician and get a non-prescription version of what he’s wearing.  I don’t know about anyone else, but to me they look good (and have the additional benefit of blending into the Ferrari colour scheme). Then the champagne/pomegranate juice hits the glasses lenses and not the eyes. Easy!

  9. Nico Savidge
    30th March 2008, 2:48

    Daniel [assuming you’re Brazilian]: I meant ‘rabid’ in a good way – South American F1 fans are some of the most excited and enthusiastic anywhere!

  10. Nico: Yes, I guessed, but I needed to be sure, otherwise I would be stupid if I thanked you… Fine, then!

    And, besides the enthusiastic fans, Interlagos itself is a great track, that usually provides one of the best races of the season… anti-clockwise, effective overtaking points, ups and downs, changeable weather…

    Being there is splendid! When Massa scored his pole last year, the crowd went insane, especially after his unusual slowing lap, crossing the line again, waving for everybody…

  11. Haven’t seen any news on this yet anywhere. Was there some provisional calendar published by Bernie or some talk by Abu Dhabi that they will be the last race ? The calendars, even provisional are not usually published until late into the season …

    Having the Abu Dhabi race at the end of the season is quite weird logistically … Asia, then Brazil, then Middle East… The most logical would be going to AbuDhabi after of before Bahrain but that is unlikely to happen same as it is unlikely 
    for F1 to continue from Sepang straight to Singapore.

    If all other races keep their slots on the calendar as they are, 
    I would probably fit Abu Dhabi between Monza and Singapore

    I hope US GP returns. But if they go back to Indy, I hope the 
    final  corner will be the banked one :-) , not the MotoGp configuration … 

  12. Milos- thank you for your support of a return for the USGP. I also hope that the race will return to Indy in it’s original configuration and will not include the MotoGP changes. In any event, i’ll be online buying my tickets as soon as they go on sale :)

    I agree that the logistics of this schedule will be quite a pain for the teams- Abu Dhabi would slot in well before or after Bahrain, but I doubt Bernie cares much about those things in his plans.

    Daniel, I agree that the fans in Brazil are among the best from what i’ve been told. How was the reaction following Massa’s win in 2006?

  13. Gman – there are lots ofF1fans who would love to see a return of a F1 race in america – but the fans ren’t the ones who call the shots in F1 – that is the same unfortunately in all sports where money(power) are predominant – but some revelations disclosd today may alter that – hopefully soon and then maybe they(guess whom) – will have to eat some humble pie and give us and the US what we the fans wish – I dont think islamic countries will wish to be associated with F1 shortly

  14. Milos, it was in Autosport. No ‘offiicial’ provisional calendar yet.

  15. Gman: I wasn’t there in 2006, but from what I heard and saw the next days, Massa was almost as much celebrated as Senna would be… That green and yellow overall was such a nice thing, and he ended up being extremely lucky wearing it…

  16. I would love to know why there are now so many anti-clockwise circuits.  There is absolutely no reason why the couldn’t have built a track that runs in the right direction.

  17. Well, I for one would like to see races ‘grouped’ so that the fan who makes a holiday specifically geared towards attending rounds can then go to a couple.
    Ie Singapore & Sepang, Indy & Montreal, Bahrain & Abu Dhabi. Not to mention that the logistics of freighting the cars etc would be cheaper and easier (and more environmentally friendly) if they went to the next regional track instead of to & from Europe all the time.

    It is a huge expense to attend a race if you don’t happen to live in a host city and many fans would like to make the trip well worthwhile by attending more than one GP.
    You know – fans? People who don’t really seem to count to Bernie……

  18. Pink Peril: you’re damn right! And, why not São Paulo grouped with Buenos Aires’ return to the calendar? Unfortunately it’s highly unlikely…

  19. Abu Dhabi is not a dry country, there are bars in virtually all the hotels.
    Due to the temperatures in summer the race would have to be very early or very late in the year. Judging by current construction progress, the track won’t be ready until late 2009 which seems to be the reason that it is penciled in for the final race.

  20. I’m pretty confident that the Abu Dhabi track will be really good. The UAE has really transformed itself, you can see the amount of construction thats happening in Dubai! Today Dubai boasts of a city better than any in the West. I dont think we’ll see any empty stands, there will be alot of people from India too who are huge F1 fans and a trip to the UAE (2 hour flight) will ensure that its a huge success.

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