Should F1 race venues be rotated?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Hockenheim, 2010A new fashion for venues sharing a place on the F1 calendar is emerging.

The German Grand Prix has been shared between the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring since 2007.

The Japanese Grand Prix was briefly shared between Suzuka and Fuji, before the latter ended its brief return to the F1 calendar.

Spain’s two F1 circuits are rumoured to be planning a similar arrangement in the near future.

And the Belgian round is expected to enter a race-share deal with France, where Spa-Francorchamps and Paul Ricard will hold rounds of the world championship every other year.


Race rotation is nothing new: The British Grand Prix was shared between Silverstone and Brands Hatch (and, before that, Aintree) until 1987. The French Grand Prix was shared between numerous circuits including Paul Ricard and Dijon before it too became a one-track race in the mid-eighties.

Rotating one round between more than one venue does bring more variety to the calendar – though this is perhaps a mixed blessing for those fans who count on making an annual trip to the same circuit closest to them.

Race organisers who have taken up race-share deals recently have done so to spread out the high cost of holding F1 races – most of which is the fees imposed by Formula One Group.


Although race organisers can save money by only holding races every other year, it also deprives them of the chance to earn money through gate receipts.

Only holding F1 races in alternate years also makes it harder for them to justify spending money on upgrading their facilities.

The recent example of the World Rally Championship provides a compelling case against relying on race rotation. Its calendar has shrunk in size since its organisers began pushing for race rotation and the popularity of the sport has suffered.

I say

Fans may appreciate greater the diversity in calendar that comes with race rotation. But this is not why it is being done.

Rather, it is symptomatic of the huge financial pressures on circuits that hold rounds of the world championship.

The high cost of holding races is increasingly being passed on to fans in the form of higher ticket prices. As a result, many circuits are already seeing poor or falling attendance. F1’s move away from free-to-air television is only going to exacerbate this.

Rotating one round of the championship between two venues seems like a short-term fix that doesn’t solve the root problem.

Worse, it tends to affect historic races at classic venues more than the new breed of races at identikit ‘Tilkedromes’.

You say

Do you like to see F1 races rotated between venues from year to year? What does it say about the state of the sport if some races are unable to take place every year?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Are you in favour of races being rotated in alternate years?

  • Yes (33%)
  • No (54%)
  • No opinion (13%)

Total Voters: 305

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93 comments on “Should F1 race venues be rotated?”

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  1. I voted no, but to an extent yes.
    Some races cant be rotated:
    Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Monaco, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Singapore, India
    I can see China & Korea alternating

    1. Same toughts.
      It’s a shame Bernie asks so so much money for a race on Spa (and all others).
      We will lose or GP here in Belgium I’m pretty sure.
      If it can be safed via rotating. Then it has to happen.
      But imo (and most here) Silverstone, Monza, Monaco, Spa and Suzuka (and maybe interlagos) shoudl be protected and be on the calandre every freakin’ year!

    2. I voted yes, but to an extent no…

      I agree that certain races should be protected. Spa would be top of my list for that status. However, I would be more upset to see Spa removed from the calendar entirely than to only get to enjoy it once every two years.

      Also, in my opinion, the two Spanish races are wasting vaulable slots on the calendar and to see tham share a slot to free one up for the USA (for example) is good.

      The rising costs of admission is of massive concern though. I have often tried to encourage friends who watch F1 casually to come along to race weekends, but even the ones with some cash to spare cannot possibly justify nearly £200 for a Silverstone ticket.

    3. I felt the same, but saw that as a reason to put ‘no opinion’ without having the option of putting ‘yes- with restraint/to an extent’.

    4. I’m old enough to remember when Silverstone rotated with Brands Hatch. I know which venue I prefered and it wasn’t Silverstone ;-)

      On a more seroius note, it all depends on the venue and the reason, if rotating saves Spa I’m all for it. Once every 2 years is better then never. But I certainly don’t think venues should be forced to rotate as with the wrc, it should be arranged and agreed by the venues for mutual benefit.

      1. its funny ive taken many first time race goers like gf’s, friends to brands and then silverstone and the reaction is always the same….

        Brands hatch rocks! really is an amazing circuit.

      2. I too love Brands Hatch, but unfortunately it’s rather too short for modern F1, and can’t reasonably be extended.

    5. I would support the rotation of races within a single country, especially countries of a larger area like the US, Canada, Russia, China, or Australia, as it would expose the sport to more people within a particular country, which can only be a good thing.

      I would also support rotation within the traditional European countries (like happens in Germany), especially if it meant countries were able to keep their race. A benefit would be that it would give fans exposure to more of the excellent historic tracks within Europe.

      I would not support the WRC system though. I remember the situation where Rally Australia would only be held every second year, which really isn’t a good way to maintain a fan base within a country.

      1. If a race rotates its circuits, like Germany, then the ticket prices should be same for either venue

      2. I also support the idea of rotating tracks for a Grand Prix, like they do in Germany and could do in Spain (which is different because they now have 2 GPs in a season).

        I don’t like the idea of rotating Grand Prixs by itself, i.e. between different countries, although I understand it could be a solution for “saving” some venues. It’s preferable to have a race in Spa every other year than no race at all.

        But the WRC shows that a yearly rotation system doesn’t do the sport any good.

    6. I agree with the thinking behind this comment. I’m not sure I can vote for either yes or no, as it all depends on which races are being rotated.

      The German Grand Prix has been shared between the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring since 2007.

      The Hockenheim isn’t what it used to be. The Nürburgring usually provides some of the most unpredictable racing, so I would prefer to see it used every year.

      The Japanese Grand Prix was briefly shared between Suzuka and Fuji, before the latter ended its brief return to the F1 calendar.

      The same applies here. I love the old Fuji layout but I hate the new one, particularly the last few turns. I’m glad Suzuka holds it every year now.

      Spain’s two F1 circuits are rumoured to be planning a similar arrangement in the near future.

      Fine by me. In a perfect world, Valencia would be ditched completely, but having it every other year is better than having it every year.

      And the Belgian round is expected to enter a race-share deal with France, where Spa-Francorchamps and Paul Ricard will hold rounds of the world championship every other year./blockquote>

      Unacceptable. Spa is, without question, my favourite track on the whole calendar, and I will be very upset when we get the first Spa-less year under that rotation policy. France is a big country with a lot of car manufacturers, including one (Renault) that is heavily involved in F1; it should be able to hold a race every year. Belgium, on the other hand, is none of those things, but it is a historic circuit and should have its race fee slashed dramatically so it can afford to continue.

      1. Belgium, on the other hand, is none of those things, but it is a historic circuit and should have its race fee slashed dramatically so it can afford to continue.

        It would be perfect if that happened – but that statement takes no account of the financial realities of holding a Grand Prix. If Spa could afford to continue, why did it enter talks with Paul Ricard?

        Also, if Spa deserves its fees slashed because of “heritage”, well what are the other cicuits going to say about that? Why doesn’t Shanghai (say) deserve a break, or Yas Island?

    7. I don’t beleive that races should be rotated instead F1 group should be implementing a system of where an organiser can only make a capped amount of profit but also a minimum intake.

      We should lower the cost of hosting a GP and set min and max prices for race tickets based on the working class wage in the area. This would make races a more appealing to people. I know that cost is the only thing that holds me back from going to races more often.

  2. I like both the Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring (although I never saw a race at the latter) and I’m OK with them rotating.
    I’m absolutely in favour of Catalunya and Valencia sharing the Spanish GP as it’d take at least one boring race away from the calendar.
    But I’d never want to not see Spa-Franchorchamps, or other historic circuits for that matter, visited only once every two years. It’d be a smack on the face for the fans. At least Paul Ricard is not a Tilkedrome.
    It’s true that there would be more different venues over a two-year span than there are now, allowing more fans from different areas to attend a race, but I think a few races can alternate, if they are in the same country (currently Spain and Germany), but not too many of them, not the classics and not between countries.

    1. I don’t know why people keep calling Spa historic. The first F1 race on the 4.3-mile Spa circuit was held in 1983. If that’s historic, then I’m historic. A circuit doesn’t get to be called historic just because part of it used to be part of a very different circuit.

      Spa deserves its place on the calendar because it’s the best circuit in modern F1, not because of “history”.

  3. @keithcollantine

    The German Grand Prix has been shared between the Nurburgring and Hungaroring since 2007.

    Typo: Hockenheim, not Hungaroring

    1. Changed it, thanks.

  4. Yes, and no, if you’ll forgive the expression.

    As far as a country rotating its race between different circuits, I’m fine with that. In fact, I think it should be encouraged, as it allows fans across a country to be near a race.

    However, I don’t like countries sharing races, as this actively takes races away from the fans. If we go for a reductio ad absurdum, imagine if Britain had to share a race with Ireland, Sweden, France and somewhere else? Ridiculous, I know, but it’s within the realms of possibility if this trend continues.

    1. I agree with @Lin1876

      If the race is rotated within the same country it would we very good idea. I think rotation would work, but only in Europe, and perhaps in South America. It wouldnt work in Asia.

      Why? Because these race tracks are purpose built for F1, nothing much else goes on the whole year round. Tracks like Sepang, Shanghai, Yeongnam, Singapore, Abu Dhabi are primarily only used for F1. Ok Sepang is used for Moto GP and is open for track days along with a few Japan GT and local endurance races, but thats it. The only major income these tracks would have is from the F1 races. All the countries mentioned do not have racing tradition, hence you arent going to get junior formulae or touring car races on a regular basis on these tracks.

      I would say Asian races will not be looking to rotate because of the heavy investment thats been made to build these tracks specifically for the F1 spectacle. Apart from that, Asian governments have been heavily subsidising the event in many countries as well.

  5. I think it’s a good idea, but only when done with two circuits in the same country. The Nurburgring/Hockenheim one springs to mind – I’m not a massive fan of either track, and alternating them each year adds a bit of variety. The same goes for Valencia/Barcelona.
    The problem is that the historic tracks will have to do this more and more as well, and with little benefit to the fans – it’s being done for purely financial reasons. I like both circuits, but the Spa/Paul Ricard alternation idea won’t benefit the sport at all.

  6. I think it’s good idea, classic venues apart of course. Let new markets share races if they have money but almost half calendar should be untouched till the end of days with special prices to held the race, you know of which tracks i’m talking about

    1. It’s the classic races under most threat, because the new Tilkedromes are able to pay so much more for the race.

  7. I am in favour of this venue rotation, as it gives a GP something special. Something like the Olympic games, something you are looking forward to for a long time. This should also improve spectator numbers (if I’m right that is…)

    But I do think it’s a shame this happens because Formula 1-cars are occupied racing in countries where the contrast between outside temperature and spectators couldn’t be bigger. F1-passion lies in Europe, and let’s face it not in the Middle East.

  8. I think im on the same page as a lot of people with this. I feel that there are tracks that we need each and every year and should never lose. Such as Spa, Monza and so on but i think its always more fun when you get to see the cars race somewhere new or somewhere they havnt ran in a long time. It keeps things from getting boring and being the same year after year. Dont you think it would be great to see F1 cars on more tracks and maybe even tracks we all love but would not other wise be on the calendar? I just like the idea of seeing F1 on as many tracks as possible over the years.

  9. I voted yes. I don’t want to see every single round of the championship alternated, that would be ludicrous, but I do think it’s healthy for the sport and to keep breathing new life into it.

    It becomes political when you start talking about which races should and shouldn’t be alternated. I love the classics as much as anyone else, but you won’t catch me standing in the way of progress. Such a forward thinking sport really ought to apply the same logic to all areas of concern.

    To an extent I think your answer (or at least mine) needs to factor in what’s healthy for the sport in the short term, but yet again, that’s subjective. The world is in a less than ideal place economically and I find it ridiculous when people simply shoot down the idea of alternating races without considering the short-term financial relief for the circuits, which is designed to help them stay on the calendar longer.

    This is a business and countless businesses have had to make sacrifices and will continue to do so. It’s a risk but it needs to be taken, for me, there isn’t much of a choice.

  10. Could not agree more! What the bigwigs don’t understand is that is was the classic circuits that attracted their ‘core’ fanbase in the first place, long before Tilke was assigned Ecclestone’s personal track designer. The likes of Spa, Monza, Silverstone and Monaco have been with us since F1 has been around and are without doubt some of the most popular grands prix.
    It is alot like debating the future of the Indy 500 or the Oxford/Cambridge boatrace, and moving them every other year somewhere else. It does not surprise the fans, but sadly Bernie Ecclestone and co, that it is the circuits that have been built within the last decade that have struggled the most in recent years.
    For a start, moving F1 to parts of the world without a traditional fanbase was always going to be at best risky and at worst foolhardy. We often ask ourselves why F1 never really became successfull in the United States, but it hasn’t exactly enthralled the Chinese and it certainly was not popular in Turkey for many different reasons. Yet F1 continues to build circuits in locations without ‘proven’ longterm fanbases, yet debates whether or not we should return to France? Abit like sending Indycars to race in Yellowknife, Canada instead of the Brickyard.
    What Bernie Ecclestone should consider is listening to his fanbase and give them what they want at prices they can afford. That isn’t rocket science, just good business practice. Charging them a week’s wages to go to a racetrack is bad enough, but to charge them to watch it on television only risks turning people off the sport even more. When people stop going to the ‘classic’ circuits, then F1 has got a problem!

  11. I put no opinion. I want the best races on the calender. I don’t have strong feelings for either German round, so it doesn’t bother me that they are rotated- there should probably only be a single German round, and I don’t mind where it is (I don’t remember any great races at either track excluding 2011 and 2008). I don’t care if Singapore, Valencia, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi are rotated, but I don’t want to ever see Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Monaco, Montreal or Interlagos off the calender.

  12. Bahrain and Donnington works for me.

  13. Of course I am against.

    From reading most comments it seems that the only reason people like the idea is because we have all these boring circuits. Be it Tilkedromes, Tikle-spoiled or Tilke-untouched, there’s a lot of tracks which just don’t have it. I’m undecided on the German tracks, but I think everybody agrees that Barcelona and Valencia just don’t have it as a track. You can spice it up with (another discussion) DRS, but I’d rather have good tracks.

    Now, if there was an option to say:
    – all classic tracks are untouchable
    – all boring tracks will be removed from the calender
    – new tracks are designed by other people than mr Tilke
    – all in remaining tracks might have alternation
    … then I would probably vote for altenation.

    1. Now, if there was an option to say:

      Yeah, I agree, however people are voting yes on this basis, as opposed to reality, which is that Spa and tracks like it are in danger. Rather than the Mr. Tilke.

    2. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
      5th April 2012, 6:19

      My thoughts exactly… Although I put no opinion because I do not want to see the classic tracks like Spa, Suzuka etc go away from the calendar. But I do hope some of the tilkedromes give way for the non-tilkedromes once every other year.
      Here’s an idea. Why not make the french GP return to the calendar in place of Valencia?
      I’m sure that Paul ricard circuit can provide better racing than the Valencia F1 Exhibition!!

  14. Genuinely thought ‘rotation’ meant running the race in reverse, which would also be interesting. But still, I think it’s fair to say that there are those tracks out there which we would be sad to see rotated, and then there are those which would probably benefit from it. However, with the German GP, it gives disappointment one year (Hockeheim) and then joy the next (Nurburgring), which is certainly a shame, but it makes it more exciting to people when Nurburgring does come around. That’s my opinion at least. It could well be the same with the Spanish GP, with Catalunya being the better track (again, my opinion), where having a one year break could lead to it being more exciting, especially the atmosphere actually a the track. What I am getting at is that with a break, it can make some races more exciting because it’s something that you anticipate, and hype up more, but can also make you feel disappointment when a worse track comes along. Also, what happens if the supposedly better tracks don’t deliver the excitement expected, such as Spa last year, which the race wasn’t all that spectacular, although it must be said it wasn’t horrible. I think overall that track rotation is good, but it can lead to a problem when it’s the less good circuit coming around.

    1. Wow if only!
      And remember, this year the drivers take eau rouge downhill…

    2. Genuinely thought ‘rotation’ meant running the race in reverse, which would also be interesting

      now that would be something @philereid

      I voted ‘No’, because of the reasons for alternation ultimately boil down to the fact CVC is taking too much money out of the sport which makes it neigh impossible to run a race track profitable with F1.

      I can imagine a situation where two tracks alternate to give fans some diversity, especially with a overfilled calendar, but currently it just does not make enough sense. When we look at that famous sharing deal, its not really saving anything, only making it harder to build up a good returning crowd. Its like not going to the cinema, or not buying a ticket to visit a race. You do spend less money, but you also don’t get to have the fun.

    3. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
      5th April 2012, 7:51

      @philereid Excellent idea!!
      Just imagine all the cars getting squeezed into the Bus Stop chicane at Spa or Casino Triangle at Suzuka… Or even a first lap battle on the parabolica at monza, Eau rouge going downhill!!! WOW!! Now that would be some spectacle to watch!!
      Cant say the same about the recent tilkedromes though… Singapore?? It doesn’t matter which way the car’s run, its always a 90 deg left and right. Thats why the classic circuits can never beat these new ultra-modern tracks.

      But running the race in reverse direction is an amazing idea at the least even if its not practical or safe :)

  15. Add more races. 30 races would be amazing and Bernie could charge less for some venues so they could afford it.

    1. Except the team, and by that I mean Drivers, Mechanics, Technicians, Designers et al, are already being pushed to the limit of workload with 20 Races… Bumping this up to 30 would be exhaustive on the team.

      Furthermore, just hiring more staff wouldn’t be an option, as there are budgetary restrictions which may not be “wasted” on staff alone, not to mention that teams such as HRT may not be able to hire the staff to attend all the races, at all.

      It’s simply not a sustainable idea.

    2. Don’t be daft. Bernie would not reduce the fees for some venues, he would make them bid against each other to remain on the calendar – this is already happening!

  16. Hmmm… this is a really tough one. I hadn’t thought of it that much until you brought it up. Of course variety is nice, and I don’t think it really would hurt fans in Europe who like to attend let’s say the Spanish GP as to which part of the country it is in, as long as there is a race in Spain…same with Germany…even Belgium and France are close enough that I don’ think that should hurt fans who want to physically go there and may have to alternate one year to the next.

    But I didn’t know that WRC has tried this and that it has hurt them. And of course your point about the high costs of holding races, and that being the reason some venues cannot repeat year after year is a biggy. And the fact that they also get hurt by having lesser revenues on those years that they don’t have the race…

    I think we are living in tough economical times and it would be great (but perhaps pie in the sky) to see BE command less per race from the venues and the country’s governments in question. Look at what happened here in Canada…BE’s demands got so high (50 mill per year) and he wanted a 5 year guarantee from the Candian Federal Government, in conjunction with the province of Quebec on said 50 per year and they came back to Bernie and said unreasonable…no can do…so we had the Canadian GP dropped…only to have it reinstated when the teams got together and put the pressure on due to the importance of the North American market to so many of F1’s sponsors….BE cut his demands in half but with a few other concessions going his way to do with local sponsor revenues and/or ticket sales I believe, and hence we now retain the Canadian GP on the calendar, and Montreal/Quebec/Canada gets what we are told is about 100mill injected into the economy. But that may be unique because of the US GP having been dropped and Canada having the only NA race at the time, so the pressure worked. With so many potential venues within a relatively small area in Europe, I don’t think that kind of pressure would happen nor would budge BE.

    Do I like to see races rotated? Sure, but watching European races on TVfrom Canada and not being there to attend means that it is of little priority to me…all F1 races to me hold excitement no matter the venue, and while I would miss Spa on any given year, as an example, I know I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it and would take it in stride.

    What does it say about the state of the sport if a venue cannot hold a race other than to alternate with another venue? It’s a shame that F1 hasn’t seemed to adapt or bend given the state of the global economy that has seen ticket prices only rise when fewer people have the disposable income to justify attending an ever increasingly expensive race. But BE has become a multi-billionaire for reasons that have little to do with ‘out of the goodness of his heart.’

  17. I’d have no problem with Silverstone alternating with Brands or even Donington (if they were up to spec) or Melbourne switching with Adelaide. Perhaps even Barcelona and Jerez.
    Where it does become more contentious is when it would be tracks in different countries that would be rotating especially when they are both established markets/countries.

    Also I don’t think there would have been an issue (except maybe in Italy!) if Monza had alternated with Imola from 1980 for the Italian GP and it had been made clear that this would guarantee F1 races at both venues for the next 20-30 years. No doubt doing so now would cause uproar now

    1. I want an adelaide gp again more than I want oxygen. Doitdoitdoitdoit DO IT NOW.

  18. I say if it keeps and brings back more traditional circuits, I don’t mind alternating. Also if it helps keep spa, and others that are struggling, stay on the calendar. But I don’t want modern circuits alternating and taking the place of classic circuits, the likes of valcenia should disappear and be forgot.

  19. I didn’t vote because I don’t think the options properly reflect my view. My answer would be it depends which circuits are rotated. If you took Monza and Silverstone and put them on a rotation then it would be absolutely no, but if you took Bahrain and Abu Dhabi and turned them into rotating races then I’d be all for it.

  20. While I can empathize with people on wanting to protect “classic” circuits (and I voted no on alternating for what it’s worth), how do determine what’s a classic track? Monza, Monaco and Spa are obvious for each being such long held staples, but I hear people calling for the likes of Silverstone and Suzuka being protected as well. remember, both have only been in place every year since the mid 80’s (and even then, Suzuka was momentarily replaced by Fuji as pointed out in the article) so those tracks are relatively new. Does it take 25-30 years of permanence to be considered a classic? By that logic, the Hungaroring is a classic and I can tell you I’m not particularly fond of that track myself. I know there are others who also don’t like it. Hell, Imola was around for 25 or so years and many would argue it produced boring races, too. As much as I want to see some tracks stay, the reality is this is a fluctuating sport. It doesn’t just change due to technology, but business. It will go where the money is, whether we like it or not. And with the ever-expensive grip that Bernie holds on it, it’s going to take more and more to keep a place on the calendar.

    I’m with Keith on this, this isn’t about “protecting” races from swapping, it’s about realizing how much is being asked of the venues just to have the “honor” of being on the calendar. Instead of focusing on clinging to our precious favorites, we should be focusing on convincing those in charge to loosen their grip on rights and hosting costs in favor of catering to fans.

    1. You’re dead right regarding the definition of classic @joey-poey That’s where it starts to become unmanageable. It also tugs at peoples heart strings which is the real issue here.

    2. I thing we should stop using “classic” term for circuit such as Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa, Suzuka, Monza because it is not absolutely correct. Like @Joey-Poey said, Hungaroring itself is very old in calendar but not considered as classic venue. I think we should use other term such as “iconic” circuit because this type of circuit is a typical circuit that average people associate with F1. When people talk about F1, they think Spa, Monza, Suzuka. This track is F1’s icon. just my 2 cent.

      1. *think not thing.

    3. In terms of the number of F1 World Championship rounds hosted, Silverstone has held 45 races (including the very first), more than any other circuit save Monaco and Monza. I think “historic” could be argued to apply to tracks that have currently held more than 40 races, which is those three plus Spa, though I have my doubts about Spa given that 16 of its 44 races were on an almost completely different track; the current circuit has only been in use since 1983.

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