Interactive map: The growing F1 calendar, 1950-2011

2011 F1 season preview

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

  1. dusky said on 14th March 2011, 10:54

    Cool tool! Keep up the good work, Keith!

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2011, 11:00

    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.

    • somerandomguy said on 14th March 2011, 11:25

      They better not take it away from Australia!

    • Icthyes said on 14th March 2011, 11:31

      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.

    • Ned Flanders said on 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

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th March 2011, 12:14

        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.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th March 2011, 14:01

      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.

    • Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 14th March 2011, 14:53

      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.

    • AlexF1 said on 14th March 2011, 15:36

      - 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 ?

  3. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 14th March 2011, 11:05

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

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 14th March 2011, 11:17

      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.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2011, 11:20

        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.

      • Steve said on 14th March 2011, 12:50

        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 said on 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. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 14th March 2011, 11:25

    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.

    • somerandomguy said on 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.

    • Ned Flanders said on 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:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection

      http://www.petersmap.com/page3.html

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 14th March 2011, 12:12

        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!

      • Feynman said on 14th March 2011, 15:21

        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).

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th March 2011, 11:12

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

  6. somerandomguy said on 14th March 2011, 11:27

    2011 doesnt look any bigger than 1977

  7. Dan Selby said on 14th March 2011, 11:31

    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. Dan Selby said on 14th March 2011, 11:32

    And also, great idea, Keith.

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

  9. somerandomguy said on 14th March 2011, 11:34

    lol look how small bahrain is

  10. Shimks said on 14th March 2011, 11:34

    Very very cool, Keith!

  11. Sijs said on 14th March 2011, 11:40

    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.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 14th March 2011, 12:03

      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.

    • Burnout said on 15th March 2011, 9:36

      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. Dan Selby said on 14th March 2011, 11:45

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

  13. Ned Flanders said on 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!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2011, 13:01

      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!

  14. the 2011 map shows france as having 1 gp

  15. sato113 (@sato113) said on 14th March 2011, 12:25

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

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