Should F1 race venues be rotated?

Debates and polls

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.

For

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.

Against

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?

  1. McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 5th April 2012, 9:38

    I voted yes. If it means ensuring some of the classic races remain on the calendar (even if only alternate years) then I’m all for it. I’m sure most people wouldn’t want to see Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Monaco etc disappear from the calendar forever.

  2. It doesn’t hurt Golf

  3. Jonathon (@gambisk) said on 5th April 2012, 10:47

    I’ve voted yes but not for every race in the calender because there are classics that I love to see time and again. But I think that rotating within a country will provide a much better racing year on year as the teams will have less data to go on each time a race rolls around then their data will be for a car from at least 2 seasons ago which as we all know will have little in common to their current car. So in theory at least the racing could be closer and more interesting if a midfield team chances on a killer setup instead of the top teams having years of data to go on. Not only this but newer tracks will surely reach a greater audience around the host country especially in larger countries like USA and Germany.

    But what I really don’t want to see is decisions like Monza or Spa that would be heartbreaking.

  4. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th April 2012, 10:55

    Spain should alternate; Germany should remain as is; Britain could alternate between Brands Hatch & Silverstone; sadly I think the Asian races have to remain as is (preferably with altered layouts); possibly alternate between the 2 American circuits (but I would want to wait and see what they’re like first); all the classics (with the new addition of Paul Riccard) should remain as is: Spa, Monacco, Suzuka, Interlagos, Monza (but perhaps alternate with Imola).
    And if space could be found on the calendar (but still keeping within the 20 race season) re-introduce races such as the Mexican & South African grand prix.

    Thoughts?

  5. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 5th April 2012, 11:41

    Some tracks yes, some tracks no.

  6. GEOFFREY (@) said on 5th April 2012, 15:05

    No, nationwide it’s okay like Germany and Japan do, but it is hard to maintain enthusiasm over an event when it goes evry two years; too long for the fans, heavy to sponsor, and more………..

  7. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 5th April 2012, 16:29

    I voted no but I can understand why we have to rotate the 2 spanish gp’s should rotate as should korea and china and abu dhabi and bahrain we have too many flyaway races that are soulless, empty and r there because bernie is making money. He said a while that there will be only 5 euro gp’s in the future, its ridicolous the large proportion of fans come from here, te teams see europe as home and the history, tradition and passion is in europe why go to china when we have the japanese gp, china is empty all the time they had to put sponsor name at turns 10 and 11, bahrain and abu dhabi have struggled why continue to pointlessly expand in asia, think of north and south america or eastern europe keep japan and malaysia.

    Races ro be alternated:
    Melbourne and Adelaide
    China and Korea
    Barcelona and just drop valencia
    Nurburgring and hockenheim
    and drop either abu dhabi or bahrain, i would say drop both but you have to keep 1 because of the financial and gain and advertising.

    Keep the rest the same and bring argentina, mexico and south africa back would love to see a gp set against the backdrop of cape town.

  8. Dizzy said on 5th April 2012, 17:35

    Im not sure its really fair to say the WRC is in the situation its in because they tried alternating events.

    WRC has gont into the problems it has because most of the manufacturer’s quit due to the rising cost’s of running a works team. Its been Ford & Citroen only for the past few years with Mini doing the odd rally & a privateer occasionaly trying to do something with an old Subaru with little success.

    Sebastien Loeb/Citroen’s dominance also harmed the series.

    WRC was at its most popular when there was tons of competition, As the WRC-Spec saw cost’s skyrocket most of the manufacturer’s left. With WRC going to a Super-2000 type spec with less technology on the cars from the start of 2011 the cost’s have gone down quite a lot & I can see manufacturer’s coming back in the next few years.

    The fact Jean Tody actually cares about rallying (Max Mosley was more an F1 guy & admitted he neglected rallying) & has made it a key part of his FIA presidency to get it back to where it was is a good thing for the series.

  9. ozzy (@ozzy) said on 5th April 2012, 19:39

    Barcelona > Valencia. Spa > French Circuit ( except Le Mans ), Austin New Jersey. Please let us have the proper races in EU and Bernie and flog the rest for money.

  10. Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 6th April 2012, 8:44

    Nice article, hit the nail on the head.

    Sad to see the most popular sports selling their souls to TV rights and advertising, to the detriment of the sport itself, and of course the fans. Spa is such a legendary, awesome circuit, so sad if it is not an annual fixture.

    DRS is another example, not pure racing at all, it is a perversion of on track performance to improve the “spectacle”, raise TV audiences, and TV revenue.

  11. faulty (@faulty) said on 8th April 2012, 22:20

    Why does Ferrari get extra money for being a historic team, but historic circuits don’t seem to get a break?

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