Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

The future of the F1 calendar - Which circuits have confirmed races for the coming seasons?

Published by James

What does the future hold?
What does the future hold?Credit: Mercedes AMG

The calendar for the 2012 Formula One season was ratified by the FIA this week and confirmed that it will be a 20 race season, starting in March and ending in November much like the 2011 season. So that is next season sorted (although with doubts over the Bahrain and US races), what does the future hold? Which circuits will come and which will go? In this post I have made the assumption, based on persisting rumours, that the Belgium and French races will alternate from 2012 onwards.

For the next 3 seasons, it is looking likely that there will be 20 races and the race that looks like falling to the way side isn’t necessarily the one you’re expecting it to be - the Japanese Grand Prix only has a contract for 2012. This situation assumes all contracts are honoured, and could leave the race in Japan dependent on the answer to the question, will Formula One return to Bahrain? If it does then the only way for Japan to slot in for the 2013 and 2014 seasons will be a 21 race calendar. Crazy. A slot may open if organisers in Korea decide they can no longer afford to keep the race but Turkey was clearly struggling and F1 continued to go back ensuring the circuit saw out its contract and the money went Bernie's way.

Future Calendar
Australian GPXXXX
Malaysian GPXXXX
Bahrain GPXX
Canadian GPXXX
European GPXXX
Hungarian GPXXXXX
Belgian GPXXX
Singapore GPXXX
Japanese GPX
United States GPXXXXXX
Brazilian GPXXXX
Future Races
GP of AmericaXXXXX
Russian GPXXXX
French GPXXX
Total Races202020171410

One bone of contention for fans in recent years has been Formula One’s expansion around the world resulting in races in Europe dropping out. The calendar over the next 5 years will see at least 8 races in Europe with the Russian GP set to take it to 9 races in 2014. In terms of number of races it is down a couple from the 11 races 2002 and 1992 seasons but the calendar has expanded since so there will be around 40% of races in Europe, down from 65% in 2002 and 69% in 1992.

Looking to the future it is probably safe to assume that the races in Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore and Brazil will continue past the current end of their respective contracts, so where will rumoured races in Mexico, Argentina, Austria, and South Africa fit? To have them all, the calendar would have to go far beyond the number 20 which will only lead to Formula One seasons to get longer and longer.

From a personal stand point 20 races a year works out at about 40% of the total weekends a year and I don’t think I’ll be giving them all up for Formula One in the future. During the 2011 season, I didn’t get up for the early morning races, choosing instead to watch them later even if I knew the result. Towards the end of the season I stopped watching Free Practice and Qualifying, if you told me I’d be doing that a couple of seasons ago I would have thought you were joking.