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.
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).
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?
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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.