Still no 2010 F1 calendar

Without the Hockenheimring there may be no German Grand Prix next year

Without the Hockenheimring there may be no German Grand Prix next year

We last looked at the state of the 2010 F1 calendar back in June. Two months later and there’s still no sign of an F1 calendar for 2010.

At this point in the year the schedule for the next season has usually been released. Last year we saw the first draft of the 2009 calendar in June.

What’s the hold-up with the 2010 calendar, and what’s likely to be on it when it arrives?

Concorde Agreement talks

The political row which came to a head in the summer, and culminated in Max Mosley’s decision not to stand for election again this October, is partly to blame.

But with a new Concorde Agreement completed and signed by Mosley (and, presumably, the 12 remaining teams, though I’ve seen no confirmation of that) I expect we’ll see a draft 2010 calendar fairly soon.

The teams have indicated that F1 must have races in the major North American markets, which could be good news for American and Canadian fans. But as well as trying to get important events back on the calendar they need to make sure that others aren’t being lost.

Aside from that there’s little else to suggest what direction talks are heading in.

The British Grand Prix

Silverstone has recently been making loud noises about how it expects to keep the Grand Prix after all.

Meanwhile the circuit is drawing attention to the Moto GP round it has poached from Donington for 2010. The bike racing championship has confirmed its 2010 date and tickets are already on sale.

As Silverstone pointed out after the British Grand Prix in June, tickets for the next race usually go on sale the day after the last one. Without a date or venue confirmed, weeks of sales time and promotion have already been lost.

Questions

Several questions hang over the 2010 F1 calendar.

Fuji and Hockenheim, which respectively host the Japanese and German Grands Prix on rotation, have said they will not host F1 races in 2010. And it’s not a given that the circuits they share their races with will step up to fill the void.

The Nurburgring race organisers have said they cannot hold the German Grand Prix next year without a price cut. It?s not clear whether Suzuka, which is owned by Honda, can put on the Japanese round.

These events are among the most important for the manufacturer-based teams as they take place in some of the world’s largest car markets. If these two and the British round were to fall off the calendar for next year, the only country of the manufacturers’ five primary markets with a race with be China.

Are FOTA using their new-found influence to put pressure on Ecclestone to ensure these vital races aren’t lost? With a second car manufacturer in eight months announcing its departure from F1, now is not the time for it to become even less attractive a proposition for promotion.

The FIA has shown an appetite for rotating rounds of the World Rally Championship, and Ari Vatanen raised that possibility for F1 when I talked to him last month. Might that be a way of adding a more diverse range of venues without making the calendar longer?

The extended wait for a new calendar is another measure of how this year’s needlessly protracted political row has damaged the sport. With the Concorde Agreement now taken care of, hopefully F1 can soon return to business as usual.

Read more: 2010 F1 calendar

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47 comments on Still no 2010 F1 calendar

  1. Prisoner Monkeys said on 3rd August 2009, 12:47

    Formula One doesn’t need Silverstone. It certainly doesn’t need Damon Hill and the BRDC. To me, the BRDC are a bunch of old duffers who take their position on the calendar for granted simply because it’s the British Grand Prix. All they’re concenred about is the history of the event, rather than the future of the race. Bernie Ecclestone has been hammering at them for years, and this time I think he’s right: the BRDC haven’t really done anything except the bare minimum to keep the race. Why should they be entitled to host the event when it’s obvious they care more for tradition than anything else?

    As for FOTA wanting to go back to North America, I like the idea. But I’m also wary. Montreal might be a great circuit, but Indianapolis is terrible. And the American car market is in crisis right now; the last thing they’ll be thinking about is Formula One. Maybe once USF1 is established, but I seriously disagree with the logic of “America is the biggest car market, and therefore should have a race”. Formula One is all about the pinnacle of motorsport. The best drivers, and the fastest cars. Why shouldn’t they race on the most challenging circuits? Forget Indianapolis, go to Daytona or return to Long Beach.

    As for countries like Bulgaria getting a race, I don’t mind it at all. People criticise the loss of “traditional” circuits, but only a handful are actually missing and none of them are particularly good: Magny-Cours is boring, Estoril is outdated and Algarve is a better circuit, Imola is nothing but chicanes, and while the old versions of Hockenheim and the Nurburgring might be gone, at least they’re represented on the calendar in some way. With the rise of Robert Kubica and a handful of Russian and Eastern European drivers – Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov, Kazim Vasiliauskas, Milos Popovic – why shouldn’t the former Soviet Bloc be allowed the opportunity to develop a fanbase? Europe is a big place, and the Eastern half is poorly-represented. As the highest echelon of world motorsport, I think Formula One should have some representation in major geographical regions, even if there is little fanbase there. I’m talking places like Africa (Egypt or South Africa could work), the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Russia and Eastern Europe. Even Central Asia, though I can’t see a Kazakh Grand Prix taking place any time soon (even if Tilke is building a circuit there). A global spread is just as important as traditional circuits and hitting all the major markets.

    • The_Pope said on 3rd August 2009, 17:29

      “I think Formula One should have some representation in major geographical regions, even if there is little fanbase there.”

      You mean, like North America? :rolleyes:

    • dsob said on 3rd August 2009, 18:10

      Formula One doesn’t need Silverstone.

      Prisoner, most of the time I agree with you enough to not take issue. This is not one of those times.

      First off, saying F1 doesn’t need Silverstone is like saying that IRL doesn’t need Indianapolis, or that Nascar doesn’t need Daytona.

      Silverstone was holding Grand Prix races before Formula One even existed. And Silverstone held the FIRST Formula One race.

      You may be right about the BRDC being old duffers, but the reason they have evidently just skated along on requirements is that Bernie wouldn’t give them a multi-year contract for the British GP.

      The BRDC have said repeatedly over the last several years—this isn’t a new thing, you know–that if Bernie gave them a multi-year contract, they would be willing to make the upgrades Bernie demanded.

      By the way, Bernie should understand about multi-year contracts–he bought one hundred years of promotion rights of F1 for about 300 million. Pretty good deal. Was he that good a negotiator ? No, it was given to him by his long-term associate in various ways, and long-term friend–Max Mosley.

      Now, back to Silverstone. These upgrades, of course, in no way had anything to do with improving the track itself. After all, the British GP WAS held at Silverstone this year.

      Bernie demands upgrades for the hospitality suites and other upgrades that have nothing to do with the race. The one point in Bernie’s demands that has merit is for upgrades to the pit lane and garage facilities, which actually are minor upgrades.

      BRDC has said consistently that they WOULD undertake the ENTIRE upgrade package if they had assurance, if they had a contract for multiple years, that Silverstone would host the British GP. This is simply good business.

      Bernie refused them such a contract.

      Guess Bernie didn’t want to clog the schedule with races if he could get better money elsewhere. Oh…..Didn’t you know? Silverstone pays a smaller fee to Bernie for the privilege of hosting a Formula 1 race. This is guaranteed by FiA, under the clause that protects “historical tracks” and says that such tracks CAN NOT be dropped from the schedule. So, it seems Bernie has been trying to ditch Silverstone….but ….FiA protects “historical” tracks…so what game actually has Bernie been playing ?

      And what part Donnington in all this ? Just a foil for Bernie’s machinations ?

      Bernie is concerned ONLY with getting the highest fee he can charge a venue to host a F1 race. Once the contract is signed, he has made his money. Doesn’t matter if a single spectator ticket gets sold to the race.

      Great deal, that, for Bernie…cause he didn’t lose his @ss at Istanbul this season. And I’m sure he doesn’t care about any other venues’ ticket sales.

      I seriously disagree with the logic of “America is the biggest car market, and therefore should have a race

      And the American car market isn’t in jeopardy…it’s the American-based car manufacturers that are in jeopardy. Big European car badges still sell here. America still buys the most cars of any badge. Yeah, the American manufacturers may not be thinking about F1…but they don’t buy the tickets to a race, then, do they ? And American manufacturers wouldn’t be fielding teams.

      And now I want to agree with you.

      With the rise of Robert Kubica and a handful of Russian and Eastern European drivers – Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov, Kazim Vasiliauskas, Milos Popovic – why shouldn’t the former Soviet Bloc be allowed the opportunity to develop a fanbase? Europe is a big place, and the Eastern half is poorly-represented

      Very valid observation.

      And, as you said, I’d think a return to South Africa would be a good thing for F1, as a continued effort to branch out into all areas of the world. After all, F1 used to race in South Africa.

      Damn shame that the only places F1 will go these days is where a country’s government will back the venue and pay Bernie’s fee.

      • Gman said on 3rd August 2009, 21:17

        I must say that I agree with dsob about the American car market…sales for many brands have been on the upswing for the past few months, even though they are not back to their pre-recession levels.

        The key point here is that the foreign manufacturers- now it’s pretty much just Toyota and Mercedes in F1- have raised their game to a new platform here in the last few years. Back in the mid-90’s the foreign car market here was still somewhat of an afterthought compared to Detroit’s brands…now, it’s the foreign makers leading by miles and miles. All of that contributes to F1 teams wanting to showcase their products here in a big way, so hopefully we can have a GP that dose that, and still see expansion into new markets in diverse regions :)

    • Gman said on 3rd August 2009, 21:09

      I agree with some of your thinking, but also believe that F1 should make sure it has a strong presence in areas that are key commercial powers..that means the UK, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, and here in the USA. All of those places have either seen their events placed in jeopardy or eliminated..they should serve as the building blocks for the sport, including for the expansion you talk about.

      I agree very much about the Eastern European expansion..there’s lots of great sports fans there and plenty of potential. If Bernie and company were logical and understanding, they could find an excellent blend of old and new, like MotoGP dose. But sadly, we just don’t see that from him.

    • Martin said on 4th August 2009, 2:02

      PM, you got it all wrong on this one.
      Silverstone like other tracks do need to be guaranteed spots on the schedule. Unlike the far east and mid east Tilke dromes the tracks have character and history.
      As far as F1 coming back to the Us and North America, there is a good financial reason for this as it is the largest car market in the world and more high end cars are here than anywhere.
      As far as Indy getting the race back, there are better tracks for F1 to come to. The only problem is the little troll Bernie.
      We have stated it before that between Bernie and Max they are ruining the sport.
      You talk of representation of all the areas of the world, we had that untill the FIA decided that it would play a roll in politics and removed Kyalami.
      Yeah, Europe is a big place and so is South America and they only have Brazil. They lost Argentina and Mexico, just like the Us has lost its races and it is all for the same reasons. Money for Bernie. Get real.

  2. Hopefully there will be 18 or 19 races instead of 17 like this year, and maybe there will be a 20 race calendar from 2011 onwards, with countries like Korea and Russia pushing for Grand Prix.

    As the rotation of races between circuits doesnt seem to work I wouldn’t mind if the Nurburgring took on the German GP permanently, same with the Japanese GP and Suzuka, and hopefully the problems surrounding the British Grand Prix being sorted out.

  3. If the calendar moves towards rotation of rounds are any tracks actually going to be able to afford to host a grand prix? Are they going to be able to afford to maintain the tracks for the years when they aren’t hosting a round of F1?

    • I think you are looking at in backwards. The fees for hosting a GP are so high that tracks can’t make a profit if they host one. Hence all the government subsidies. With rotating races a circuit can be a host but only have a massive loss every other year – the year they have to pay Bernie.

      In an interview with Tony George in Indianapolis he said that the costs of hosting a motogp race was 1/10 of F1 but the revenue was almost the same. Obviously in these financial times many circuits (and the governments subsidising them) don’t want to run the loss just for bragging rights.

      • Matt said on 3rd August 2009, 16:00

        The “revenue” being the same may be true in some places, but its not even close in others.

        For example I doubt the GP turnout at Silverstone will be anywhere close to the F1 turnout, and with tickets being less than half the price it would have to be twice as full to gain the same revenue.

        Their is a possibility “profit” may be similar, but revenue – not a chance.

        • Its Hammer time said on 3rd August 2009, 17:45

          @ Matt it doesn’t matter whether the revenue is much smaller. If the costs of hosting the race are a 1/10th of an f1 race the revenue needed to turn a profit can be much less. It also means the tickets are no where near as expensive. Tickets for the Moto GP @ Donnington this were £65, my ticket at stowe in an un covered grandstand was £180 on raceday…i can’t afford that again…and i am sure i am not the only one making that decision.

          • The Indianapolis speedway charges the same ticket prices for IndyCar, NASCAR, F1 and MotoGP. The highest price is $150 and the cheapest is $60. Practice and qualifying are around $10-$25. There are a couple of bargains offered: infield general admission (ie. no assigned seat, but sit on the grass) for the Indy 500 is available for $20. The Brickyard 400 backstretch can be had for $45.

      • Gman said on 3rd August 2009, 21:19

        Silverstone obviously followed Indy’s F1-to-MotoGP blueprint. They are quite excited from what I can see of it.

        I really like the MotoGP calendar- except for not having a presence in Central/South America, the series dose a great job of visiting new markets and great circuits, while also maintinaing a strong presence in Europe/America. From what I have seen of it, the racing isn’t bad either…those guys put on a heck of alot better show at Barcelona than F1 did this season.

        • I think the MotoGP calendar is ace – they know their key markets and make sure they are well represented (hence three races in Spain), but are quite happy to try new venues and see what they are like. If the new venues are unsuccessful they go elsewhere. It means pretty much every race has a huge crowd, great atmosphere and is entertaining. You dont get any impression of going to a track just becuase it is paying top dollar in MotoGP.

  4. I hope the delay is because the FIA and FOTA are pressuring CVC — i.e. one B.C. Ecclestone — into better deals for Germany, Japan, the US and Canada. Although I understand and quite like the idea of a truly world-wide Championship, the only thing that links today’s F1 with pre-WWII Grand Prix racing, are the classic national GPs, the ‘Grandes Épreuves’ — France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, and Monaco, and preferably Switzerland, too, while the Indy 500 could also be considered a GÉ — and I believe that somehow the FIA should safeguard these races, within reason, of course.

  5. steve o said on 3rd August 2009, 13:25

    Sorry Prisoner, Indy may not be Spa but it is plenty good enough as I should know ;
    I went to all of them !
    The new layout for Indy MotoGP is better than the previous F1 incarnation , I will send photos when I arrive in a month !
    Montreal is also fabulous and deserves immediately to be back on.
    F1 is not going to Daytona or Long Beach , get rid of that pipe dream now.
    Tony George spent enough money bringing Indy up to FIA spec and that sort of loot is not going to be spent on LB or Daytona. Forget it.
    As for Petrov and Popovic , they haven’t shown enough in GP2 to even be considered for F1 material much less bring focus to their respective countries.
    ( The verdict is still out on Alguersuari . Bourdais definitely underperformed but Jaime was not a magic bullet either . It would have better to keep Seb in car on a race by race situation but I digress )
    There was some interest in a Moscow GP but that faded fast. Turkey is going to be gone soon.
    South Africa doesn’t have anything but Kyalami ?? I don’t think so either.

    • Gman said on 3rd August 2009, 21:24

      I agree that the new Indy layout- with the left/right/left after the backstraight- would be an improvement over the old section in that spot. And the tickets were much lower than most other GP venues from what I understand. But I doubt we’ll see F1 back at Indy…the administrators who made the F1 decisions are no longer in control there, and the Hulman Family is obsessed with trying to prop up the IndyCar Series and the handful of other businesses they have.

      As for Daytona, I don’t know if the road course there is all that different from Indy. Now, if you’re talking about the oval…that’s a different story ;) but I doubt the F1 guys would be up to that.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th August 2009, 4:02

        The Daytona Road course has several configurations, many of which go un-used. There’s one where the cars don’t actually re-join the oval course until the back straight that has a nice flow to it. Jump on Google Earth and see for yourself.

        • Gman said on 4th August 2009, 4:11

          Thanks for the tip :) I know it’s quite popular for the 24 hours race, so if you think it will work, maybe it’s a good deal. Still, with ISC owning and operating the place, I doubt they will e striking a deal with Bernie anytime soon.

      • I believe Daytona has too high of banking for FIA regulations, unless the road course doesn’t use the banks.

  6. Adrian said on 3rd August 2009, 16:16

    I think the “traditional” races should be protected and given a preferential rate so that they can survive without handouts from the government and should be on the calendar every year.

    In the countries where the government basically pays for the race as a tourism exercise, they would be more likely to be able to afford to work on a rotation basis. Perhaps 1 year out of 3 they don’t hold a race depending on how many circuits want to be on the calendar.

  7. Casino Square said on 3rd August 2009, 17:01

    Basically, while Bernie Ecclestone and CVC control the money in F1, we will never again see a half decent calendar. If they don’t lower their demands, the 2010 calendar will be a real mess. When was there last fewer than 16 GP’s?…

  8. At the end of the day, even though I disagree with Bernie’s exorbitant fees, the country as a whole makes a profit by hosting a race, even if the circuit itself makes a loss.

  9. French frog said on 3rd August 2009, 17:51

    Piquet is officialy out

  10. Gman said on 3rd August 2009, 21:26

    If the provisional calendar hasen’ bene released yet, I hope it’s due to Bernie trying to get a deal for the U.S. and/or Canadian GPs to be featured. Obviously the situations for the British, German, and Japanese GPs are far from sorted, so that could also be causing the holdups.

    I read in an interview with Bernie last weke that he was going to be in New Yrok over the weekend…hopefully it’s got something to do with a new GP :)

  11. marc said on 3rd August 2009, 22:53

    i just want a british GP to goto…dont really care what track. Silverstone is my fav but other side of mind tells me we should try out the new donnington track or better yet move to brands hatch!

  12. FilipT said on 3rd August 2009, 23:17

    it’s Milos Pavlovic, not Popovic

    Filip

  13. wasiF1 said on 4th August 2009, 3:31

    I think FOTA must put pressure on BERNIE to cut cost so that we don’t loose any more traditional venue.
    F1 does need Silverstone.
    Do you people believe there should be at least 20 Formula 1 race per season.

    New places like India,Korea,Austria,USA,Canada,Argentina(As posted by Keith that FOTA had in their calender),San Marino.may be South Africa( they did good with Cricket).
    & Leaving places like Turkey,Valancia (no reason of hosting two races in one country)

    Please share your opinion.

    • Gman said on 4th August 2009, 4:19

      I agree about Valencia- it’s very good to see F1 become so popular in Spain, but no nation should just be handed two races when there are so many markets withour races or in need of another. For example, not only do we have no races in Canada and the United States, but for all of Central and South America, there is only one GP. For a region with so many sports-mad people, this is a terrible oversight.

      I can very much see 20 races- going with more could be tough, but if you do 10, then have the summer break, and then 10 more, it could work quite well.

    • Well it looks like F1 is coming back to Montreal,if Bernie will pay 10 million in damages to the old promoter ,but really 20 million U.S. dollars for one race in the U.S.A. ,means you will never see F1 there

  14. Gman said on 4th August 2009, 4:35

    One last note about Indy. Love or hate the racing, I think many of us agree that it’s one of the world’s great racing and sporting venues. You look at the great F1 champions who have won there- Clark, Fittapaldi, Hill, Andretti- and the many others who have raced there, and it takes on a special feel. Many fans appreciate this, but sadly, some of the F1 drivers and many of the fans don’t care. Sure the Indy configuration F1 uses wasen’t Spa or Monza, but we see worse racing in places like Budapest, and get half the complaints there.

    If you want some perspective on that, the NASCAR people absolultey LOVE Indy…the Brickyard 400 has become second only to the Daytona 500 in terms of the most coveted wins on the Sprint Cup schedule. For an example of the respect Indy has, ask any NASCAR historiain about some of the most important dates in the sort other than races, and I guarentee that August 16, 1993 will be at the top of the list…that was when the first NASCAR test (for tire useage) took place at Indy. It was so special and is so well remembered that to this day, Rusty Wallace- a Sprint Cup Champion and winner of more than 50 races- still cherishes his status as the first driver to take a NASCAR machine around the IMS oval as one of the hilights of his racing career.

    Obviously F1 is a different animal, and the track configuration is quite different, but it would have been nice to see a different attitude ffrom the F1 guys.

  15. Robert McKay said on 4th August 2009, 12:43

    I think F1 could still do very well at Indy. Yeah it’s not by any means a fantastic track, but the banking made it quite different in modern F1 circuit terms (so if you do go back, don’t use the Moto GP layout, please)and the long pit straight meant at least you got some good slipstreaming and passing going on.

    And at its height, although it wasn’t full in Indy 500 crowd terms, it was still packing ‘em in compared to numbers at some of the races in Europe.

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