Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Thursday Thoughts - New tracks, deleting tracks - Organising the best Formula One calendar there can be

Published by Christine

Before I get going on this, I want to encourage volunteers for the lead blogger over the coming weeks. We have five more Thursday Thoughts to come before the season gets underway, so if you fancy having a go at posing the question, then please sign up to the wiki. If you don't have a blog of your own, we'd be more than happy to host the guest post here. If you've already had a go at asking the question, you can sign up again, there's no limit to the number of attempts you can have.

Now, on to this week's question, asked by Dylan from Triple League Racing:

What track or tracks not on the current F1 season calender do you want added? Also, what current tracks need to go? And finally, if this isn’t enough, how many Grands Prix should F1 have?

This is a fabulous question but I am going to have to skip the first bit. Mr C and myself have long since said there are too many races. For mostly selfish reasons, the more races are on a calendar, the more we moan. We relish the off season almost as much as, or even more than, when the action is underway. Therefore, I don't really want to add any tracks to the calendar, but when it comes to taking some off, now we're on to something.

I feel a bit harsh singling out Abu Dhabi to be chopped before it even gets a second chance to host a race, but that first Grand Prix was so dire, I can't bear to think of it on the calendar in the future. It's an obvious selection, along with Valencia - two brand new circuits that promised a lot but left little to remember. Valencia, in particular, is so dull and grey that the only thing I would miss if it was dropped is the lime green building that lines the circuit.

Whilst we're throwing tracks away, we might as well get rid of China. The Shanghai International Circuit is nowhere near as bad as some of the two already mentioned, but it does have two very long straights that are quite dull, and there seems to be no atmosphere at the circuit at all. There's also too much will they/won't they news floating around about the track, and we have enough of Bernie's decisions with circuits that are actually good.

I'm tempted to knock Singapore right off there, too, but I think if the organisation was a bit better, it does have potential. The first night racing circuit is still a good title to hold, even if the novelty has worn off a bit now. Plus, it wouldn't be fair for Renault to forget their Singapore mishaps too soon, would it?

Another circuit that used to come under fire is Hungary, and I can see why. Initially I wanted to give Hungary a reprise, because there are other tracks that are much worse. Giving it a little more thought, though, I'm not at all impressed with how the circuit treats Felipe Baby. In 2009, he suffered the terrifying accident that saw him out of the car for the rest of the year. The previous season, his engine gave up heartbreakingly close to the end of the race, after such a fight from him that deserved the win. Instead, Kovalainen became the 100th different winner, and got his name in the record books. So, no, Hungary has to go too.

That's three circuits I want to get rid of, which is starting to get the calendar down to a sensible size. It would be impossible to judge the new South Korea track without seeing it, but I'd be just as happy if it wasn't ready in time. I also think I would get rid of Malaysia because they only gave me half a race in 2009. It wasn't necessarily their fault, but I had to mess about with half points for the rest of the season, and I do hold a grudge. So, what does my new and improved calendar look like?

It's shorter, obviously. I've taken the liberty of removing any back-to-back nonsense, because fortnightly racing is a sensible way to go about things. I've also chopped out the summer break, because we want to keep Peter Windsor happy, and Mr C and I rarely holiday anyway. Finally, I have re-ordered the races by number of laps.

29th MayBahrainTBC
5th JunBelgium44
19th JunItaly53
3rd JulJapan53
17th JulAustralia58
31st JulTurkey58
14th AugBritain60
28th AugSingapore61
11th SepSpain66
25th SepGermany67
9th OctCanada70
23rd OctBrazil71
6th NovMonaco78

That's the Sidepodcast Calendar. Short, and in an orderly fashion.