FOTA’s rumoured ‘new F1′ calendar for 2010 revives USA and Canadian rounds

Adelaide in Australia is one of the track FOTA want to bring back
Adelaide in Australia is one of the track FOTA want to bring back

The Guardian claims to have details of the Formula One Teams’ Associations’ planned calendar for its rival F1 series in 2010.

As well as bringing back the United States and Canadian Grand Prix, it suggests race are planned in Argentina, Finland and Mexico. Plus, many of F1’s most popular venues – with two unfortunate exceptions – are to be retained.

3 March – Buenos Aires, Argentina (last F1 race: 1998)
21 March – Mexico City, Mexico (last F1 race: 1992)
11 April – Jerez, Spain (last F1 race: 1997)
25 April – Portimao, Portugal
2 May – Imola, Italy (last F1 race: 2006)
23 May – Monte Carlo, Monaco
6 June – Montreal, Canada (last F1 race: 2008)
13 June – Indianapolis, United States (last F1 race: 2007)
1 July – Silverstone, United Kingdom
25 July – Magny-Cours, France (last F1 race: 2008)
15 August – Laustizring, Germany
29 August – Helsinki, Finland
12 September – Monza, Italy
26 September – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
10 October – Marina Bay, Singapore
24 October – Suzuka, Japan
8 November – Adelaide (last F1 race: 1995) or Surfers’ Paradise, Australia

There are many interesting points to note on this highly speculative list.

Good riddance

First, many F1 fans will welcome the rejection of many unloved venues penned by Hermann Tilke: Bahrain, Fuji, Shanghai and Sepang are all missing, So too is his rather better Istanbul circuit, with its excellent turn eight bend.

Several former F1 venues are revived including some real gems: the tough, bumpy, rapid Mexico City track, and the classic season finale on the Adelaide street circuit (though Surfers’ Paradise, formerly an Indy Car track, would be almost as good). However the same cannot be said of Jerez which, despite holding two memorable races in 1986 and 1997, is much too small for F1. The Motorland Aragon circuit (which, ironically, was designed by Hermann Tilke) would be a much better venue for the Spanish Grand Prix.

No Brazil – or Belgium

The cherished venues of Monaco, Silverstone, Suzuka and Monza all remain. The only ‘big names’ missing from the list are the sublime Spa-Francorchamps, which is believed to have a contract with Bernie Ecclestone until at least 2012, and Interlagos in Brazil (likewise until 2015).

The lack of any Brazilian round is a particular disappointment – it has been on the F1 calendar without fail since 1973, and Brazil has produced many championship and race-winning drivers. The absence of these two races, while San Marino returns as a second Italian round, is the least appealing aspect of this calendar for me.

The North American rounds return at their previous venues – the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal and the United States round at Indianapolis (presumably the road course which has now been re-configured for Moto GP bikes and is, it must be said, even less satisfactory than its previous configuration).

New venues

The Portuguese Grand Prix, last raced in 1996, returns but at the new Algarve International Circuit in Portiamo which is a splendid-looking facility and was warmly received by the F1 teams and drivers when they tested on it last winter.

The prospect of a Finnish Grand Prix at Helsinki is fascinating and long overdue. A return to Argentina, even at the slow, cramped version of the Buenos Aires track last used in 1998, would be a welcome re-acquaintance with F1’s history. The new Potrero de los Funes circuit in San Luis would be a truly inspiring venue for this race, however.

The relocation of the German Grand Prix to the Laustizring is curious. Unless their intention is to use the oval circuit – which would be enormously exciting – the prospect of a race on the dreary road course within its bounds isn’t one I’d relish.

That aside I have only one objection to this speculative calendar – I want a single, unified Formula 1 to race on it, not some weakened manufacturer-run series under a different name, and not something that calls itself Formula 1 which has driven all the biggest and best teams away.

What do you think of the rumoured calendar? Is it credible? Which races would you drop – and which would you like to add?

Read more

NB. I haven’t been able to find a link from the article where I saw the calendar online – it’s on the front of the sports supplement in today’s Guardian.

Update: Thanks to Marilia for posting this link to the epaper version of the Guardian in the comments, where you can find the page.

215 comments on “FOTA’s rumoured ‘new F1′ calendar for 2010 revives USA and Canadian rounds”

        1. Fair enough, but I watch other stuff on Sky (A1GP, Indy Car) and so does my partner, so it works for us.

          If there was a choice between watching F1 live with ads, or paying a fee to watch F1 live without ads, I’d probably go for the latter, if it was a fair price (and decent commentary team etc…). I’d say around £10-15 per month – Sky with Sky Sports is £35.50.

          1. Unfortunately, that’s just too much for my current budget. I agree there is probably other stuff I would watch, like the other motorsport series. I’d have to research into what they show, but I already pay £140 a year to watch TV, even though only a small percentage of that (pretty much just the F1 and Top Gear (when it’s on)) is watching the BBC, which is what that £140 goes on, so forking up another £425 a year for what I see as a generally advert-ridden, sub-par television package is just not an option.

          2. As I have said before, if FOTA want their series to be successful I think they have to make sure it is live on free to air TV. If either FOTA or FIA F1 were not on terrestrial TV, I for one simply wouldn’t watch them.

            I couldn’t justify getting Sky just for F1 and the few other things I would want to watch, and besides I already spend too much time in front of the TV so I wouldn’t want the temptation of all those extra channels anyway.

            Bernie has said before that F1 has to be available on free to air TV because of the exposure, and as the FOTA teams and sponsors would want the maximum exposure I think they would probably take the same view.

          3. I just couldn’t justify getting Sky for F1, and certainly couldn’t justify watching more motorsport (it’s difficult enough with a small familty to watch just F1 and MotoGP) to justify the Sky monthly bill.

            If it’s not Free to Air TV (or Eurosport at worst) I won’t be watching it. Fortunately F1 is on terrestrial tele. I did not mind the adverts, they offered a suitable comfort break, and invariably I watch the race recorded (avoiding the result all day) so zoom past the ads anyway.

          4. A good alternative would be Eurosport. They’ve got a decent size audience and thanks to Eurosport Player you can watch both their channels via the web for only £5.

  1. Selfish unlikely choices:
    – If Italy gets a second round, then so should Britain, as reward for the number of fans prepared to actually go to the races.
    – Swap Monaco with Indy, keep May clear, declare the Indy 500 to have championship status, and have all the FOTA teams submit Indy entries.
    – Find space for Watkins Glen too.

          1. Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Road America, WAYYYYYY too many better tracks in the USA than the Indy road course.

    1. I believe that they should have 2 rounds in Britain, Italy and the US or maybe 3 in the US(Watkins Glen, Road America, and Lagune seca) There are some others I would like to see there also such as Zandvoort and Kyalami, plus a Brazil entry. This would keep ther real fans interested. Also dont limit yourself to 17 races. go to 18 or 20.
      Split the procedes from the tickets with the track owners and dont charge them a fee to be on the schedule. Split the procedes with the TV and everyone will make money and no one will ever look back.

      1. If FOTA split ticket fees with TV and Circuits then how will they be able afford to run a series?
        Fom charge tv companies for the right to show F1 and charge circuits for the honour of staging races, and this money is used to pay the teams and Bernie’s and cvc’s pockets.

        So basically are you saying that ticket sales would be the only main income from the series?

        Well i am sure FOTA will be able to arrange things satisfactorily.

      2. “Split the procedes from the tickets with the track owners and dont charge them a fee to be on the schedule. Split the procedes with the TV and everyone will make money and no one will ever look back.”

        Brilliant ! That’s definitely the way to do it. Cheers Mate !

  2. It’s not bad, not bad at all.

    No Spa is bad, obviously, but seeing A1GP at Portimao makes me think that could be the new Spa. I really like Portimao.

    There’s enough familiar tracks in there to make it recognisable as F1, and some old favourites. Going back to Adelaide and Mexico would be nice. Lausitzring and Helsinki are wild cards, though, that’s very bizarre.

    It’s not an A1GP calendar, that’s for sure. It’s quite cool, in a funky mid-1990’s retro way.

    I’m surprised Singapore’s on it, though. Just assumed new F1 night race would be well under contractual lock and key.

    And ok, Buenos Aires and Jerez aren’t stunning but I’ll take them over Bahrain and Shanghai.

  3. Monaco appears to be on F1’s traditional race weekend (which is always the same religious holiday weekend) which could prove interesting if the split does happen…

    Have to agree we’re long overdue a Finnish GP. Plus it might wake Kimi up ;)

    1. Monaco has already said that if F1 splits they are going (with Ferarri) with the FOTA side. F1 would be left trying to fill that hole with another race.

  4. I’d be happy with a calendar such as that. I have a few remarks:

    » Lausitzring? Why not the Nurburgring, since Hockenheim will host the 2010 German Grand Prix.
    » Helsinki? I would be very much surprised. I guess FOTA would sooner go to Qatar.
    » I was surprised to see Monza on the list, but it has no 2010 FOM contract yet. Great!
    » Abu Dhabi must be on Bernie’s roster for a number of years, but the Arabs might opt to pay FOM to jump ship to FOTA.
    » Same goes for Singapore.
    » Suzuka is on the 2010 FIA calendar and is rumoured to be for a number of years, yet; I’d expect Toyota-owned Fuji to be on FOTA’s list, though.
    » Surfers Paradise may not be suitable at all for modern F1 cars. Adelaide would be great, though.
    » I would bet on a FOTA race in China, it being the (2nd?) largest car market in the world.
    » Lastly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mugello on the roster, since it’s owned by Ferrari.
    » As a stand-in for Spa, FOTA could visit Zandvoort, although the track isn’t quite as suitable for F1 as the Dutch might like.

        1. They’d have to have completely different cars for ovals.
          Indycars have the suspension on one side and bigger tyres on that side to aide the cars turning, plus other technical stuff i am not familiar with.

        2. Please no oval races, leave that crap to american racing. That’s why I watch F1, no ovalage. It gets boring after lap 5 and racing is based off of the safety car.

      1. I’m thinking that too. Two oval-ready circuits in the calendar might mean that at least part of the ovals would be used.

        Given the last-minute nature of this arrangement, though, I’d guess the oval races won’t happen for next year. But didn’t F1 have a history of racing in part-ovals before? Monza, and of course Indy.

        1. There’s actually 3 oval ready circuits of that calender, Mexico City has a mile oval built in aswell.

          The there’s Monza aswell, imagine a race on the oval there, spectacular!

    1. Nurbring might not held next year race, but it’s still under contract to Bernie.

      V8 Supercars own Adelaide and I don’t think they really want to share it with F1. So it’s easier to bought the A1GP contract at Surfer’s.

      1. I have to agree with Filipe. I cannot see V8 Supercars moving over to share with F1 or an F1 spin off. V8 Supercars see themselves as a premier level of motor sport, they don’t do support slots.

        At Surfers Paradise the V8 Supercars have had dual billing with Indycars, and this year with the A1GP, in fact the V8 Supercar race is the final race of the weekend.

        The South Australian government probably has no real interest in attracting an F1 spin off to Adelaide, as the V8 Supercar event is a sellout anyway, and I would doubt they would want the disruption of having to build the circuit twice a year.

        The Queensland Government probably also has no real interest in attracting the F1 to Surfer’s Paradise either, as most people go to see the Ford versus Holden “battle” and boobs. Mostly drunk bogans. I went last year with some friends, two of us went to see the Indycars, and the support races, and the other two only cared about the V8 Supercars and boobs.

  5. American fans thank you FOTA! Give us back some real racing so we aren’t forced to watch oval boringness!

    See you Max and Bernie!!! Good riddance you miserable old bags!

  6. Also, if tracks like Monza, Monaco and Singapore do “defect”, then the “proper” F1 series calendar suddenly has some BIG holes in it.

    Already you can see how two separate series are good in the sense that we get extra tracks, but may well slit each others throats for them…

    1. Also, if tracks like Monza, Monaco and Singapore do “defect”, then the “proper” F1 series calendar suddenly has some BIG holes in it.

      Well, that assumes the two are mutually exclusive – they needn’t be. The days of FIA/FOM preventing circuits from holding rival series’ events ended with the EU row in the early 2000s – without which Montreal couldn’t have held CART races nor Sepang and Shanghai A1 Grand Prix rounds.

  7. In regards to TV rights, hopefully they’ll keep the Internet video rights to themselves, so FOTA can do their own live Internet broadcasts for everywhere that doesn’t have any TV broadcasts.

    It’s not really a world championship if everyone in the world can’t watch it.

    1. It’d be interesting to see how they’d arrange this with the national broadcasters — it’d be nice if you can get this broadcast everywhere, and for every viewer whose IP address is from a country with a broadcaster, they get reimbursed for lost TV revenues.

      Otherwise, it might be hard to get traditional broadcasters to sign on.

  8. 3 March – Buenos Aires, Argentina

    No!!! Why would you wanna begin the series with the most boring track ever?? Terrible choice.
    The first race will be for the fans to decide if they like the new series and are interested to follow it to the next race.

    15 August – Laustizring, Germany

    If only it was the oval track *sigh*

  9. I don’t know why they’re going back to Indy. The road course is pathetic. Why not pick Watkins Glen or something like that? Hell, why not Laguna Seca? I was also hoping they’d hold a race in Toronto :(. Oh well…

    Magny Cours?? I thought the drivers hated that place. They should go try Le Mans instead. And they should use the old Hockenheim for Germany if possible.

    1. The old Hockenheimring sadly no longer exists. It was demolished after the new bit was built to give something back to the forest of which a large portion was destroyed.

    2. Laguna Seca is one of the best circuits technically in America, but it’s too small for Formula One cars. They would lap around 1:05:xxx, which is too low for a circuit. And the fact that it lies in a remote location surely doesn’t help as well. If they can do an exception for this circuit, like they do for Monaco, it would be great.

      How about a race in Macau in China, instead of in Shanghai? Both circuits are different and both are good. Macau is unique due to it’s elevation change and long straight.

  10. A Finnish Grand Prix at last, to replace that horrid Hunga-bore-ring. Jerez instead of Barcelona, Excellent excellent.

    Surfers Paradise, now I’d love to see an F1 car have a go at that place.

    Shame the Argentina round isn’t at that beautiful track round the lake in the mountains, because we all know that the Buenos Aires track is like.

    Shame about Spa, and Interlagos, but like the article says, there’s a long time until 2010.

    No Sebring or Laguna Seca though :(

    1. F1 car wouldn’t survive Sebring, and prolly would have a problem with the Corkscrew.

      Road America or Road Atlanta would be good choices though

      1. Well having seen the video of the F1 Toyota navigate the Corkscrew, I’d beg to differ, but having F1 at Laguna Seca is really just dreaming.

        I’m guessing Sebring is a little too bumpy.

        I don’t see how Jerez is too short though, I mean, I remember the races there being alright, I guess the only way to find out is to have a modern F1-esque race there and see how it goes.

  11. Someone above suggested incorporating the Indy 500 as a points paying race and leaving the month of May to that race. A great idea, but only if there is another race at a place like Road America. The Glen would be good as well, but a bit short even on the extended course. And I’d get to see TWO races (Montreal and the Glen).

    But all of this is nothing more than FOTA tossing logs on the fire of Max’s funeral pyre for this Wednesday’s WMSC meeting. The only way the FIA tosses Max out on his bum is if the FIA delegates really and truly believe these guys will carry out their threat. Speculating on schedules and venues just makes it more real.

  12. Sounds more like a fantasy series tbh … I can see a number of tracks that would presumably have contracts with FOM for F1 races. Doubt they could also host FOTA unless F1(the FIA version) implodes.

    1. I can see a number of tracks that would presumably have contracts with FOM for F1 races.

      Well, bear with me here, the following is part assumption and part guesswork:

      Abu Dhabi is new on the F1 calendar this year. Major contracts often begin with probationary periods with get-out clauses on either side – they don’t just launch into a multi-year deal, they put down an arrangement for the first year with options on extensions. So perhaps Abu Dhabi could get out that way.

      We could extend that logic to Singapore, particularly as it is making some changes to its layout this year, and Suzuka, returning this year after a two-year absence.

      In Italy, F1 broadcaster RAI has a get-out clause whereby if Ferrari aren’t competing their contract to broadcast F1 is void. It wouldn’t surprise me if Monza had a similar arrangement – what’s the point in having an Italian Grand Prix without Ferrari?

      Those are the only F1 tracks on the calendar this year that appear on FOTA’s schedule – apart from Silverstone, which we all know is at the end of its contract.

      Monza aside, all the F1 circuits which have said they have contracts for 2010 are not on this list: Bahrain, Catalunya, Hungaroring, Interlagos, Istanbul, Melbourne, Sepang, Donington Park, Spa-Francorchamps and Valencia, plus the proposed new race in South Korea.

      So it’s not an unrealistic list. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think it releasing it is a political move…

      1. I dont think these tracks have exclusivity clauses, as this would be economical suicide to the track not only that the FIA are carrying on about competition laws, it could be argued in breach of this law.
        I think this has much to do with the fact, the new FOTA series does not want to stand on anybody’s toes. They cannot negotiate with existing contracted tracks whilst still competing in F1 as I would have no doubt this would be a breach of some laws. However if the tracks approached them then this would be totally legal.
        Furthermore I dont think we will have 2 racing series next year. I think FOTA will be the premier championship. It is estimated 2.2 billion dollars of investment will follow FOTA instead of staying with f1. I cannot see how F1 will survive. I think Bernie knows this and he will follow the teams because he has contracts based on participation of the manufactures teams and current private teams. One team leaving would not muddy the waters, 8 teams leaving is a different story. The FOTA series will take 75% of f1 worth instantly.

        1. even if Bernie does realize that FOTA have won, I can’t see any reason why they would let him in. Bernie doesn’t bring enough to the table to get 50% of revenue.

          Bernie and FOM are finished either way, as is Max.

      2. Abu Dhabi most definitely have a ‘Ferrari’ get out clause… They’re building a massive Ferrari theme park adjacent to the circuit.

      3. its actually the opposite – they have multi-year lock-in contracts with Bernie, otherwise they wouldn’t invest the hundreds of millions into building a circuit without a 5+ year guarantee.

        as I said above, the Abu Dhabi investment group that is building the new circuit there is also a very heavy investor in Ferrari, so there is no doubt that they would pay their way out of their FOM contract to host a FOTA race.

        1. the Abu Dhabi investment group that is building the new circuit there is also a very heavy investor in Ferrari, so there is no doubt that they would pay their way out of their FOM contract to host a FOTA race.

          Good point.

    2. Jaz, I’m not sure about this idea of FOM having exclusive contracts wih the tracks. If you look at A1GP, who I would have though of being one of FOM’s enemies, they run at Sepang – a track that FOM uses. Also Superleague Formula (that’s not an FIA series, is it?) race at Monza.

  13. Can anyone give details of the Helsinki race? Is that going to be a street circuit or is there a road facility there?

    I had a wild fantasy about it being an ice race – obviously never going to happen (plus wrong time of year) but we can dream!

    1. About 10 years ago there were a couple of F3000 (and possibly DTM) races held on a street track in Helsinki. You can probably find clips of the races online.

  14. There are plenty of road courses in America better than Indy. C’mon FOTA, you can do better than that. Road America, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Sebring, Long Beach, and Mid-Ohio come to mind immediately. You have to remember Watkins Glen was changed because it couldn’t handle the demands of F1 cars anymore, and that was decades ago. So I don’t see a return there without major modifications.

    1. You have to remember Watkins Glen was changed because it couldn’t handle the demands of F1 cars anymore, and that was decades ago. So I don’t see a return there without major modifications.

      Sadly I don’t think Watkins Glen has any more run-off space than Road America, Road Atlanta or Laguna Seca. F1 at Long Beach again would be cool, though.

      1. Another option for US is Cleveland. It isn’t more unsafe than any street track, but it actually has good racing. It always drew a great crowd in Cart and was left out after the merger and IRL for some reason refuses to go back there.

      2. You’re probably right about laguna seca, but after a quick looksie on google maps, the Glen has very, very little room for improvement. It’s surrounded by public road. Road America, however has lots of room everywhere inside and outside of itself. Not only that, but I think the only corner that would need substantial runoff addition is the kink. Same goes for Road Atlanta, only turn 12 would need serious runoff space. However, Road Atlanta has two pit roads because it’s start/finish straight is only about 1500ft, which really won’t do for quick improvements. Road America’s pit straight is almost 3 times longer though, and is probably a better circuit anyway. Lastly, no matter what, both of those are safer than 90% of street circuits. With a little well deserved development, I think Road America could easily host a future Grand Prix.

        However, even if those circuits are deemed unsafe for use, Mid-Ohio and (the even better) Sebring for use. Just imagine an F1 car bouncing up and down Sunset Bend (the long last one.) Also, I’m a bit biased against Long Beach because there’s no way I’ll ever be able to get there for a long while

          1. No, they’re out because they were really just snubbed from the schedule once the merger happened, and they were one of the many tracks dropped. Also, isn’t circuits paying for a race one of the things FOTA wanted to change? It’s my understanding FOTA wanted to pay the circuit, then keep the ticket sales.

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