Provisional 2009 F1 calendar has good news for France, bad for America

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Indianapolis 2007 crowd, 470150

The first details of the 2009 F1 calendar were published today with the F1 schedule set to return to 19 races ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ a high it has only reached once before, in 2005.

As was expected the French Grand Prix is remaining at Magny-Cours. The Australian Grand Prix also appears as a provisional fixture.

However there is still no slot for a United States Grand Prix. For the second year in a row F1 will have only one race in North America ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ the Canadian Grand Prix. Full details below.

Provisional 2009 F1 calendar

Rnd Date Event Circuit
1 27-29 March Australian Grand Prix Albert Park, Mebourne
2 3-5 April Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang International Circuit (possible night race)
3 17-19 April Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
4 8-10 May Spanish Grand Prix Montmelo, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
5 21-24 May Monaco Grand Prix Monte-Carlo
6 5-7 June Canadian Grand Prix Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal
7 19-21 June British Grand Prix Silverstone
8 26-28 June French Grand Prix Magny-Cours
9 10-12 July German Grand Prix Nurburgring
10 24-26 July Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring
11 7-9 August Turkish Grand Prix Istanbul Park
12 21-23 August European Grand Prix Valencia Street Circuit
13 4-6 September Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale Monza
14 11-13 September Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps
15 25-27 September Singapore Grand Prix Singapore Street Circuit (night race)
16 9-11 October Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka**
17 16-18 October Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai International Circuit
18 30 October – 1 November Brazilian Grand Prix Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo
19 13-15 November Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Island

Changes on the 2009 F1 calendar

The season starts later than usual, with the Australian Grand Prix on March 29th – it was on March 16th this year. However the season also ends later than usual.

Among the other changes is the return of the Turkish Grand Prix to its original late summer slot. It was held in May this year in unusually cool conditions.

The calendar does not give details of venues but the German and Japanese Grands Prix are expected to rotate locations with the German round being held at the Nurburgring (possibly under a different title) and the Japanese back at Suzuka after two years at Fuji Speedway.

The British Grand Prix has moved in front of the French Grand Prix and the Belgian in front of the Italian.

A slot at the end of the season has been found for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This is where it was originally expected to appear.

It will be the first time the F1 season has ended at an all-new circuit since the 1985 Adelaide Grand Prix. The race will be held on 15th November, the latest conclusion to a season since 1987.

2009 F1 calendar
2009 F1 season

29 comments on “Provisional 2009 F1 calendar has good news for France, bad for America”

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  1. If the Australian GP is scrapped, the season doesn’t start until April. Over 5 months without a race…

  2. Scott Joslin
    25th June 2008, 21:29

    Not that I am too bothered, but does anyone know what the reason for the swap between the British and the French GP?

  3. Keith, I think the 3 week gap in August went away, it’s just two now… weird. The only 3 week gap is between Bahrain and Spain

  4. Yeah you’re right I can’t add up can I? Fixed now.

  5. There is still room to squeeze in a US race, is Bernie just playing hardball?

  6. One is hard-pressed to come up with good reasons why a US Grand Prix remains off the schedule. Like it or not, the US is the world’s largest market for Ferrari, BMW, and Mercedes, if not others. I’m sure few of them are happy with Bernie’s inability to consummate a deal at Indy or anywhere else in the US. Few tracks equalled the attendance at Indy. The first race at Indy is still believed to be the highest attendance at any F1 race. Interest in F1 is increasing in the US (along with IRL), while enthusiasm for NASCAR is starting to wane. (Not that F1 deserves US attention after completely bungling the 2005 race.) We now have races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi–and still none in the US? Americans can only assume that inability to even start to negotiate for a US Grand Prix is based less on fiscal matters and more on the virulent anti-Americanism in the welfare state known as western Europe. Certainly, the vote to keep Max gives one little confidence in the FIA’s ability to discern where its real center of interests–and therefore existence–lies.

  7. Dan – I’m not sure there is room actually. Previously it’s been doubled up with the Canadian round to save travel costs but if they inserted it into this calendar they’d end up having races on either three or four consecutive weekends, neither of which seems very likely.

    Unless he plans to make it a new season-opener in the middle of March, or in the gap between Bahrain and Spain, I can’t see where it would go.

    Also according to Grandprix.comtar the thorny debate about whether one country should be allowed to hold two races came up again. The only country to hold two races at present is Spain.

  8. Bob – Apparently $10m in sponsorship was the difference between America having and not having a Grand Prix this year. I don’t think it has anything to do with anti-Americanism. Ecclestone was once happy to have three races in America so long as it lined his pockets.

  9. Keith – I think you’re quite correct, though one shouldn’t underestimate the inability of facts to overcome what may be obstacles to more acceptance and interest in F1 by Americans.

  10. Actually, I have another theory on why the US Grand Prix is off the calender… and it’s called Tony George.

    Since he won the open wheel war with the IRL and the fact that the brickyard is going to hold the Indy 500, the Birckyard 400 (Nascar), and the MotoGP round next year… why bother dealing with Bernie when you barely make a profit on the US Grand Prix? It’s not worth the heartache. Especially after the way Max and Bernie were so unapologetic after 2002 and 2005.

    If that the case, we Americans are screwed. There is not another track in the US that Formula One ready. Any other track or circuit would cost to much to bring up to safety standards and building the required infrastructure. In other words, we are screwed.

  11. Bob, great to hear some support on the issue of a USGP! As many of who who visit this site know, I’ve been hoping, praying, and eagerly awaiting a return for the USGP to Indianapolis. The news today is truly devastating for me- After yesterday’s optimism, I really thought there was genuine cause for optimism. This is my first full season of following the sport, and for my nation to be denied a GP for the second year in a row is truly disappointing, to say the least.

    I know Bernie is as slick as anyone when it comes to dealing, and I’d like to believe he and Tony George could still put together a deal for 2009-if Bernie wants it, I know it can happen. However, I just don’t see that happening unless something out of the blue develops. We’ll see what comes out about it the next time one of them gives an in-depth interview.

    I know many of us here in the U.S. will still follow the sport faithfully, but it’s hard to develop interest when things like this happen, and we don’t have the USGP back for the second season in a row.

    Back to another year of wishing…….

  12. Dan, I share all your frustration, but I don’t think we are entirely sunk yet. Tony George and his people have said many times over the last year or so that they want F1 to come back to the IMS. It seems the problem is always the financials, and perhaps that is the current issue. We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks and if any inside news comes out.

    On the topic of space on the calender, I believe the USGP could be fit in it’s usual spot if the races before it are moved up a bit. One option would be to start the whole thing sooner, or the few races that precede the normal USGP space-Spain, Monaco, Canada- could all be bumped up a week- so that the three-week gap is reduced to two, and that leaves a spot open after Canada. I know Monaco may have some kind of tradition about being in late May that may clash with that, but it will happen if Bernie wants it to be there.

  13. @#%&*!%….$&&#@!*$…*&*##@%!!!

    unhappy yank

  14. This is an odd calendar to say the least.

    Nonwithstanding the exclusion of the USGP – which is not only to the charign of Americans – the date for the OzGP seems a bit odd. If – as has been touted – the race is moving to a 5pm start time to please Bernie, then this is way too late in March to be doing that. The track will be pretty much in darkness by the time the race ends, and the sun glare for 50% of it will be horrfic. Realistically, to have a race starting in Melbourne at 5pm you’d want to have it in February. What gives?

    And the seasons closing round in Abu Dhabi is just ridiculous. If the championship goes down to the wire – like it did last year – then why would you want to have that round played out to a largely empty track? And forget about partying afterwards ! (I am making an assumption here that Abu Dhabi is a ‘dry’ country but I could be wrong). At least in Brazil, you know that whoever won, there was going to be a party on the streets in Sao Paolo.

  15. no USGP again is sad but not unexpected. it will take few current races to drop out before USGP can return, especially when Korea and India are to come to the picture in 2010 I believe

    I do wonder how long will both Valencia and Barcelona survive.

    Abu Dhabi had to be expected towards the end of the season as early on there is Bahrain. For same reason Malaysia and Singapore are at the oposite ends of the calendar, although the tracks are only some 4 hours car drive from each other. Brazil might have been fun ending to the season, but it is not like Brazil is loosing its traditional spot. The Brazilian GP the last race of the season only in 2004 (and in 2005 the season ended in China).

  16. No US GP is a disappointment. One less evening GP for me to watch.
    I know most venues do not make much money out of hosting a GP, but I’ve always wondered how much it would cost to say, for example, upgrade Watkins Glen to get it to a standard acceptable for Bernie.
    I’m guessing better VIP \ hospitality and pit complex is what is required?
    or is the Glen too far away from any city \ shopping complex for Bernie :)
    I shall have to keep dreaming I think…..

  17. Gman, Monaco is always in the late May bank holiday weekend. This allows the Monaco businesses to milk a extra day’s money from visitors (or at least that’s the cynical view).

    It seems weird, though, that the season will start after my birthday…

  18. Honestly – the fact that there’s no US GP is a disgrace, and Bernie et al should be ashamed with themselves. With all of Bernie’s pontificating over max’s problems with the sponsors (etc.) – I would have thought that the sponsors would be far more unhappy that there’s no race in the US. Frankly it’s just absurd. And for me it just goes to show how little he really does care for the sport that he would allow it to happen for what is in all reality a miniscule amount of money. He can;t really expect it to be truly considered the pinnacle of motorsport if it is not even competing in the US.

  19. It is disappointing that there will be no American Grand Prix, but lets be honest with ourselves here.
    Bernie Ecclestone has always made it be known that he is interested in taking F1 into new markets, new areas.
    In a recent pole, one of the biggest regions for F1 viewing coverage was, surprise surprise, China.
    South East Asia, aswell as India, are the prime places for Ecclestone in his never ending quest to make more billions.
    Point two is that the relationship with America and F1 was fatally holed in 2005 and the infamous ‘six car race’. There was no real going back after that, the damage the sport suffered in the U.S was huge and soul destroying.
    Point three. Despite there being a die hard, hardcore element of F1 lovers in America, the overall viewing figures for F1 racing in the US are terrible. On average, each race attracts around 10 million viewers, out of a population of close to 300 million.
    Of all the nations that follow the sport, America has one of the worst viewing figures for F1. It is a tragedy for those who do love the sport in America, and who have followed it religiously for decades. However, with figures like that, and with so many empty seats at Indianapolis following the 2005 debacle, its hardly a shock that F1 has turned its back on Uncle Sam.

  20. the limit, I could be wrong, but I believe the attendence figures for the two races after 2005 at Indy were in the 100,000 or so range. If that’s the case, then F1 should consider Indy 2005 DEAD AND BURIED(No anger or bad feelings- I just want to stress my point.) With an annual event like a GP, you know it’s a failure after a bad event (like Indy 2005) if the attendence plummets the next season. In this case, it was still strong. In terms of the empty seats, Indy can hold over 200,000 spectators- so even with a huge number of fans like 100,000- you’ll still see alot of empty seats because the place is huge.

    F1 viewing figures are naturally going to be higher in China than the US- what other major motorsports are there to see in China/India/etc.? No NASCAR/IndyCar/NHRA as the main motor sports, as there is here in America. If FOM thinks they can waltz right into the U.S and have everyone fall all over F1, they were mistaken. The sport can become popular here, but it would take some simple steps in terms of marketing and PR in order to give it a boost in this, a developed country with a strong series of domestic motorsports.

    Lastly, some positive comments from Bernie would help more than people realise, instead of stuff like “America is not vital to F1.”

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