The changing F1 calendar

Interactive map: The growing F1 calendar, 1950-2011

2011 F1 season previewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In six decades the world championship has almost tripled in size.

From little more half-a-dozen races in Europe the global F1 circus now visits almost every continent.

The 2011 F1 calendar will see a new record of 20 races, assuming the race in Bahrain this year goes ahead.

The charts below show how the sport has grown worldwide since 1950.

The growing F1 calendar, 1950-2011

This interactive map shows how many races were held in each country* during each year of the world championship.

Press play to see how the distribution of F1 races around the world has changed since the beginning of the championship in 1950:

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View a larger version of this chart

  • Click play to start the animation
  • Use the scroll bar to select a year
  • Zoom in and out and drag the map to look closer
  • Click a country to see how many races it held in that year
  • The more races a country held, the darker it appears

F1 races per continent, 1950-2011

The growth in the calendar has often been referred to as a decline in the championships traditional European races.

But as this chart shows the far more significant factor is the growth of Asia. This year there will be almost as many races there as in Europe:

1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Europe 6 7 7 7 7 5 6 6 8 7 7 7 7 7 8 7 7 7 8 7 9 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 8 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 11 11 11 11 11 10 10 11 10 9 10 9 9 9
Asia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 5 6 7 8
North America 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 0 1 1
South America 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Australasia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

F1 is set to return to the United States of America next year, increasing the number of races in North America to two. Another new race in Russia is planed for 2014.

*As principalities are not shown on this map the Monaco Grand Prix is attributed to France. Note that some Grands Prix were not held in the countries they were named after, including the 1981-2006 San Marino Grands Prix (Italy), 1982 Swiss Grand Prix (France) and 1997-8 Luxembourg Grands Prix (Germany). Map requires Adobe Flash Player.

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90 comments on “Interactive map: The growing F1 calendar, 1950-2011”

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  1. Cool tool! Keep up the good work, Keith!

    1. Glad you like it :-)

        1. Nice work, what we can see that at first it was only a European sports but thanks to Bernie (the one quality I like about him) it is spreading to many other countries.

  2. This map just highlights the fallacy that European races are being replaced by non-European ones. They are not being replaced; the calendar simply been expanded so that there are more slots available, and those slots are being filled by non-European Grands Prix. Only a handful of races have been dropped:

    – Imola, Estoril and Buenos Aires were removed from the calendar when Formula 1 out-grew them.
    – The A1-Ring was discontinued when drivers threatened to do lap times of under one minute; it was going to be re-built and re-configured, but the construction was halted.
    – Magny-Cours might have been dropped for money reasons, but it was a bland circuit to begin with and already unpopular because it was so isolated.
    – There have been others that have been dropped, like Zandvoort and Anderstorp, but they were hardly critical races to begin with.

    Utimately if Formula 1 wants to be a World Championship, then it needs to be a World Championship. And that includes going to far-flung locales just as much as it does going to Europe. I’m not advocating a Bhutanese Grand Prix (though as the world’s most mountainous country, we’d get some awesome elevations), but I think Formula 1 needs to push out, and I don’t think any of the races that have been dropped are truly essential the way Monaco and Spa are.

    1. somerandomguy
      14th March 2011, 11:25

      They better not take it away from Australia!

    2. Utimately if Formula 1 wants to be a World Championship, then it needs to be a World Championship. And that includes going to far-flung locales just as much as it does going to Europe.

      I disagree. What makes a World Championship is being open to participants from all nations. The more hosting countries, the better, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient to a World Championship.

      And when we read all the time about Spa, Suzuka, etc. being under threat because the Asian races are pushing up the hosting costs, I’d say that’s legitimate concern.

    3. Ned Flanders
      14th March 2011, 12:02

      The A1-Ring was discontinued when drivers threatened to do lap times of under one minute

      Erm… I think there was a lot more to do with it than that. More to do with big bucks Bahrain and China coming on to the calendar in 2004. A circuit could be lapped in 3 seconds, but if they paid Ecclestone the money, he wouldn’t give a hoot

      1. A circuit could be lapped in 3 seconds

        I think G-forces might be a problem with that circuit. It would be more a ‘wall of death’ than a racing track!

        But I get your point.

    4. Agree with you on this. The sport has to develop in all ways, including geography. If we start losing classic European GP’s then it would be a cause for concern, but if they’re replaced by something better…doesn’t bother me.

    5. Magny-Cours might have been dropped for money reasons, but it was a bland circuit to begin with and already unpopular because it was so isolated.

      However bland the circuit was, it’s a real shame that the country which invented grand prix racing doesn’t have a race.
      The fear is that Bernie is sacrificing heritage for money and France is a prime example of that.

    6. – Magny-Cours might have been dropped for money reasons, but it was a bland circuit to begin with and already unpopular because it was so isolated.

      So what about China, Bahrain or South-Korea ?

      1. I like the south korea track!

  3. 2011 looks very nice. I’m glad Russia and I hope somewhere in Africa will be coloured blue shortly. :)

    1. Realistically, I dont think that’ll happen in the next 10 years, perhaps even 20 years.

      Northern Africa, the Arabic nations, is pretty unstable at the moment, and would be pretty unsafe to host a GP. They’ve got bigger fish to fry than sport at the moment.

      Then every country south of the Arabic north has problems which have be going on for years; civil wars, droughts/flooding, goverment corruptions, massive debts. Then there are nations which wouldnt be able to host a GP on the basis they are too small (Sao Tome and Madgascar).

      In reality, the only nation in Africa which could probably host a GP would be South Africa, however, they would have to build a new facility as it’s former GP track has apparantly been developed on or close to, and local noise regulations would prevent todays F1 cars going around it.

      It’s a shame, but I would say it’s unlikely Africa will host a GP for some time.

      1. There was a proposal for a South African Grand Prix to be held around Green Point Stadium in Cape Town about a month or so ago.

      2. Kyalami has been turned into a bike track and AFAIK its too bumpy.

        I doubt we have any noise regulations that cant be changed on the fly to suite the big wigs.

  4. eternalsunshine
    14th March 2011, 11:12

    Nice to see that there are more Asian countries in the recent years, which gives a better spread of being a “world championship”. Hope South Africa joins in with Russia and the US to make it more evenly spread out.

    I’m enjoying your interactive tools, Keith. It gives us a different perspective of what we already know. Keep it up!

  5. Canada is massssive on that map!

    I personally love that fact that we are getting more of a “world” championship and am always glad to see new races added to the calendar, long may it continue. Obviosuly there are certain races are “sacred” and should never be removed (Monza, Silverstone, Spa, Monaco) but F1 needs to move with the times, the balance of world power is no longer concentrated in Europe. for the sport to continue to grow you need to tap into the new emerging regional powers, which F1 has done to a lareg extent.

    1. somerandomguy
      14th March 2011, 11:31

      But most of the new races just look boring and sparse, built in the middle of nowhere. Does nothing for the excitement of F1.

      1. That’s very true (Shanghai and Istanbul are particulalry bad from that point of view) but Silverstone’s surroundings aren’t exactly exciting either.

    2. Ned Flanders
      14th March 2011, 12:06

      It’s pretty misleading. It’s a mercator map, which makes Greenland look bigger than Africa when in reality it’s only about 1/15th of the size. If you happen to be a geography geek like me see the following links:

      1. I know that all world maps aren’t representative of the true size of countries, I’ve just never seen Canada look that big before!

      2. Misleading, how so?

        We are not using this map to figure out how much paint we need to order to paint Greenland green.

        This particular projection is in fact ideal for our needs, with its expansion of the congested European nations which have lots of Grand Prix to display over time, and the contraction of the empty (grand Prix-wise) African continent.

        Fitness for purpose: Accuracy, clarity, resolution, general ease of use, and plain old aesthetics in charts and the graphic representations of data are usually much more important than any banal restrictions of geographic accuracy.
        (example: Harry Beck’s London Underground map).

    3. It’s the second-biggest country on Earth! Just most of it is pretty uninhabitable.

  6. somerandomguy
    14th March 2011, 11:27

    2011 doesnt look any bigger than 1977

    1. Really? I only counted 17 races for ’77.

  7. I must disagree that Zandvoort wasn’t one of the more “criticle” races. In both its old layout and newer layout, the track has generally received a good reception from drivers and spectators, alike.

    The atmosphere always looked tremendous, with its bowl-like setting, fans sitting on the hills/sandunes.

  8. And also, great idea, Keith.

    This site puts other sites to shame and raises the bar – the way it should be!

  9. somerandomguy
    14th March 2011, 11:34

    lol look how small bahrain is

    1. Yeah it takes a lot of zooming!

  10. Very very cool, Keith!

  11. Just can’t wait for the Indian GP. I am sure it will be a great success and will have an audience as passionate as the tifosi! And I also hope fellow Europeans will accept us and don’t feel stolen because i believe Formula 1 is an art that needs more global exhibition. These interactive charts are not easy to make so great work.

    1. I agree. As long as the tickets aren’t priced ridiculously high, I think there will be a good turnout. Its still a growing sport in India.. but I know a lot of people who are eagerly awaiting the event.

    2. I just hope ticket prices aren’t like what we’ve got for the Cricket World Cup that’s going on now. They’re quite atrocious considering the quality of seats at most stadia.

  12. I think the Indian GP will be fantastic. Seems like a passionate country.

  13. Ned Flanders
    14th March 2011, 12:17

    This article could have been written for map nerds like me! But, as cool as it is, it’s also pretty misleading. The vast representation of Canada makes it look as though the Western Hemisphere dominates F1 when in reality it only has 2 races.

    A more accurate way of portraying the global spread of races would be to put a red dot on each part of the map where a race is held, the same size for each country, so then little micro states like Bahrain won’t be dwarfed by places like Canada.

    Another thing- I think Monaco might disagree with classing their Grand Prix as being held in France!

    1. Not to sure about that, their football team plays French competition as well, doesn’t it?

      Nice link to map views you posted before, was good to be reminded how much our views of the world are influenced by what we see!

      I remember a discussion when still in going to secondary school about the atlas used and the formats for presenting countries. Pretty hard core!

      1. Yeah, but I don’t think that proves too much. Wlesh teams play in the English league, Liechtensteinian teams play in the Swiss league etc. A Monagesque Premier League would be pretty crap!

        1. Well they do have their share of players resident in the principality. Just it would get boring to play in the same stadium all year ;-)

        2. On the subject of crappy little countries having their teams play in superior countries’ leagues, you forgot Berwick Rangers, Ned ;-)

          1. Haha, yeah I know!

  14. the 2011 map shows france as having 1 gp

    1. I think Monaco was included for the French GP, maybe because it was too small to plot on that map :p

    2. Read the text in the article for an explanation.

  15. love it! very interesting to see the politics behind it too with the spread to Asian countries as they boomed economically.

  16. I believe Monaco and France should be divided (samo for San Marino and Italy). Admittedly, you would have to single out England in the UK.

    1. Why? Monaco and San Marino are sovereign nations, England isn’t.

      1. They are not sovereign as such, they are principalities.

        1. But they are recognised by the UN, EU and other international bodies as being separate, independent nations. England is just part of the UK (and actually, there is no political entity called “England” at all).

          1. Scotland has a separate parliament, and that’s probably more liberty vis à vis England that Monaco as towards France.

            I’ll admit, Monaco (or Andorra et all.) has a weird status which is quite difficult to judge. Neither a full fledged Nation, neither a dependant region.

          2. Scotland is part of the UK. Monaco is not part of France. I’m running out of different ways to say this.

            Just because it is a small country, does not mean it is not a country.

    2. I explained in the article why they aren’t.

      1. So, it’s just a technical thing to do with the map then. Ok.

        I’m guessing the same thing apply to the European and Pacific Grand Prix, otherwise technically the whole of Europe and the Pacific should be lit up at certain times.

  17. Keith, did you catch the news, that the FIA now has NO racing at all going on in Africa after the Maroccan touring car race was cancelled?

    1. It was in the WMSC release last week.

      1. It was, just not noticed it really much before. Great idea for this world map and GP spread Keith.

  18. Carlos Santos
    14th March 2011, 12:39

    It’s the Monaco GP I guess, altought Monaco is a country!

  19. Japanese GP will not happen this year.

    1. There hasn’t been an announcement on that so we’ll see.

      Obviously what’s gone on in the country is absolutely dreadful but it’s hard to predict what shape they might be in in seven months’ time.

      1. I had not yet thought about it that way, but this might mean the Bahrain GP could actually replace Japan?

        I understood Suzuka area is not much affected by the quake and I would expect the Japanese to want to get this proud event to take place to show how they cope.

    2. the japanese are very organised and tough people. in 7 months time the country will definitely be back to normal.

      1. i know its no consolation but if a country was to suffer this type of disaster, of this magnitude, Japan would be the country i think that could cope with it best… best of luck to them

    3. It probably will. 7 months, plus the fact that Suzuka is the other side of Tokyo than Sendai will ensure that is stays on. Infact national pride will probably demand the Grand Prix stays, theyve recently announced that two football freindlies will not be calcelled during the next international break.

      1. Sorry to be the harbinger of doom but thats if the radiation levels are within tolerence levels, American Navy ships 100 miles from Japan are retreating to safe waters, God forbid, but if this goes bad we could see a major part of North Japan uninhabitable for a thousand years.



    1. Don’t worry, Tavo Hellmund is working on getting the Austin GP to work fine for next season.

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