Now that the 2013 calendar is final, we can start speculating about 2014.
Imagine you’re in charge of FOM and you possess the power to make contracts appear and disappear. Your job is to reach as many people and generate as much revenue as possible with the sport, which means compromising between traditional circuits in traditional markets and new circuits in new markets. You also have to keep teams and drivers happy, so brutal schedules and overly dangerous circuits are out of the question. What would you do?
Here’s what I would do: https://maps.google.be/maps/ms?msid=212486907785289977307.0004cb42f3b22460ed8e2&msa=0&ll=15.284185,19.6875&spn=117.249716,270.527344
1) Brazil – Interlagos – March 16th: Classic track and it now gets the season opener, because I have a better idea for the finale.
2) Argentina – Potrero de los Funes – March 23rd: A stunning circuit, despite some (e.g. @prisoner-monkeys) arguing it would be boring. Well, I say they can’t all be overtaking fests; didn’t seem to hurt Singapore’s reputation and this one has it all to become another classic. Both the track and the city of San Luis would require serious updating and I know Argentina isn’t all that well-off at the moment, but the name recognition of an F1 race and the updated facilities could spark economic growth in the region (similar to the plan in Greece, only this has a much higher chance of actually working out). As for the remoteness: it’s within a day’s drive from both Buenos Aires and Santiago, two huge cities, it’ll be fine.
3) Arabia – Dubai Autodrome – April 6th: No international sport can afford to neglect this region and you have to say those Arabs (and all the expats) do like motorsport. Imo, Bahrain is the best track in the area (which isn’t saying much), but with the political instability and the fact that the country is really small, I think it’s better to look in one of the Emirates. The circuits in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai seem awful, but so far only Abu Dhabi has proven that it is, so I give the other one a chance. Alternation between the two seems the best solution.
4) Spain – Alcaniz – April 20th: Of all Spanish tracks, I like this one the most.
-) Mid-Season Test – Imola – April 29th to May 1st: Classic track that makes a modest comeback in it’s traditional slot before Monaco.
5) Monaco – Monte Carlo – May 11th: Utter classic, F1 needs this one.
6) Mexico – Hermanos Rodriguez – May 25th: Even without Perez, this would be a guaranteed success. It’s a shame the Peraltada is too dangerous, but even when they pass through the baseball stadium, it’s a wickedly fast last corner.
7) Canada – Montreal – June 8th: Classic. No comment needed.
8) United States – Port Imperial – June 16th: We have yet to see how both this one and Austin pan out, but they both seem quite spectacular. Alas, there’s no room for 2 US races, so we’ll have to do with alternating between the two.
9) Great Britain – Silverstone – June 29th: Where else?
10) France – Reims-Gueux – July 13th: The more I look at it, the more I love it, just look at that westernmost corner! This was one of the inaugural F1 tracks and another ultra-low downforce track would be great! It needs work, obviously, but there’s nothing substantial in the way of doing so (apart from financial support :( ).
11) Germany – Nurburgring – July 27th: Sachsenring would be cooler, but I’m afraid it’s a tad too short, so, unless they rebuild the forest section at Hockenheim, F1 in Germany stays in it’s original home (if they can manage their troubles).
12) Hungary – Hungaroring – August 24th: Granted, it’s not a very exciting race, but it’s a friendly Grand Prix with great atmosphere. It would sadden me to see it go.
13) Belgium – Spa-Francorchamps – August 31st: Now that it has financial backing, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be here.
14) Italy – Monza – September 14th: Well, duuuuuh.
15) Russia – Sochi – September 28th: Russia has been F1′s final frontier and now it has found a home. There’s a high chance that the race will be lame, but it can’t be worse than Moscow Raceway. Russia should build a new track, a good one! But until then, Sochi it is.
16) India – Buddh – October 5th: One billion people…
17) Singapore – Marina Bay – October 19th: Modern-day classic. I was thinking to maybe alternate with Kuala Lumpur, but the latter simply doesn’t have the marquee feel of Singapore, so I’d just scratch it, sorry.
18) China – Shanghai – November 2nd: Awful, awful track, but somehow it has delivered some interesting races in the last few years. Also, one billion people.
19) Japan – Suzuka – November 9th: Must-have. Together with the next race, this promises to be a classic season finale.
20) Australia – Adelaide – November 23rd: Melbourne isn’t that bad, but it never lived up to the reputation that Adelaide had built up in it’s short, but eventful history. This race had panache and it feels like F1′s true home in Australia, so I’m bringing it back!
Netherlands: Zandvoort is not what it used to be, but the best part of the old circuit has remained intact, so it is still marvelous, especially by today’s standards. Unfortunately, it would make the calendar too Euro-centric for the modern world.
Finland or Sweden: With all the Finns in F1, it’s about time they had a GP. Not too fond of the idea of a street circuit in Helsinki, but a road circuit, such as this, would be amazing. Sweden has a bigger population and would also be a half-Finnish GP. Unfortunately, again, too Euro-centric.
Austria: A home Grand Prix for Red Bull. Wouldn’t be too hard to find financial backing and it’s a pretty sweet little track. Of course, it has the same problem as the previous two…
Turkey: Has enough money, people and a good track, all it needs is better organization and promotion.
Africa: Looking at the FIFA World Cup, I think South Africa could do it, but they need a new track, because Kyalami doesn’t suffice. Cairo or Casablanca, or maybe even Luanda would also be good choices, but they’re not ready.
Venezuela: Needs a new track, but it could work.
Thailand: Hmm, I don’t think there’s much possibility of a decent track in the streets of Bangkok and most of the country is really poor.
The ones that are gone:
Malaysia: It drew a decent crowd and delivered decent races, but that’s just it: decent.
Bahrain: No need for two races in Arabia and with the political mess and the failure of ever drawing a big crowd or deliver a good race, I’d say good riddance.
Korea: I think Korea has huge potential, but the choice of laying down a circuit in the middle of nowhere in the hope that people would want to go live near a race track was a poor one to say the least.