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Thursday Thoughts - Tweaking existing tracks // A closer look at Bahrain, Silverstone and Valencia

Published by Christine

The return of Thursday Thoughts brings with it a tricky question to start with. This week, we're talking about keeping the calendar as it is, but tweaking those tracks that you find distasteful.

Which are your worst three circuits, and what would you do to fix them?

I want to mix it up a little bit, because the worst circuits are pretty obvious. Abu Dhabi, Barcelona and Hungary spring to mind - although Hungary has offered up some surprise results over the past few years. Nevertheless, I'm approaching this more from the aspect of how I feel going into the race weekend, and what I would do to fix that, rather than a corner by corner analysis, because I am not that smart! And I asked the question!

Anyway, on to the improvements.

Bahrain

The technicolor patchwork of Bahrain
The technicolor patchwork of BahrainCredit: Bongarts/Getty Images

After two years of calendars with Bahrain at the start and Abu Dhabi to finish, I think we can all agree that Bernie has set us up with two boring tracks to bookend the season.

If I had to pick one to change, it would be Bahrain. Abu Dhabi escapes because if it is the season closer and the championship has already been decided, we can pretty much discount it as a race. If the championship is still raging, like this year, that has added interest, even if the track doesn't deliver.

So it is Bahrain that I am going to change, and the change is simple. I would argue with the man in charge, who seems lovely and quite a reasonable man, that he needs to take second place on the calendar. There is no question that the sedate nature of the Bahrain experience, all the way from the paddock to the startline, is not what is needed to kick off a season. It's far more relaxed than I'd expected, and appears to be a very friendly place to hold a race, but it doesn't have that... that... oomph. It doesn't even have to be Melbourne that starts things off, but somewhere with that kind of party atmosphere is needed to get fans and potential-fans fired up for the year ahead.

Silverstone

This one is entirely selfish, because I have first-hand experience of attending the circuit. Each summer, I am filled with foreboding at the thought of the traffic jams trying to get in and out of the little village of Silverstone. Even if we weren't put off by the price, the idea of having to battle with everyone else to try and get to the hallowed ground is hideous. I'm sure it's not the only track to have traffic congestion related issues, but it is the one that sticks strong in my mind.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we stick a giant motorway right up to the track gates, but something better than the narrow country lanes would be useful. The only decent thing about getting to the track is that the signposts are very helpful, but if you veer off course even slightly, you are lost in the British countryside. It's very pretty, but it is also quite frustrating.

We laughed at Donington when they proposed that all visitors to the Grand Prix would have to arrive by public transport. That doesn't seem workable. But there must be a middle ground. I haven't quite thought of what it is yet, but I'll keep pondering. Maybe jet packs?

Valencia

The problem that Valencia really has, aside from some pretty dull races so far, is that there is nothing around the track to make it even slightly more interesting. At least in Abu Dhabi, we can all marvel at what a gorgeous build it was, and watch the hotel changing colour.

The track is far too long. I propose cutting it in half. From 24 corners to 12. This means the final section of the circuit will be missed out, which in turn means we will not get to see the green building. Therefore, the green building will have to be moved. While we're at it, can we paint some of the other buildings bright colours? Red, blue, anything but yellow. We would be able to tell each corner from corner, the laps would be over quicker, and when the race is boring, we can sing the rainbow song as we follow the cars going around.

Okay, I took it a bit far, but anything to make each corner a bit more distinguishable from the others. It is a mass of concrete and high fencing, with the occasional grandstand dotted around the circuit. This needs fixing.

Those are my thoughts on some tweaks we can make to the calendar, until we can convince Bernie that it's all very well money-grabbing for the new tracks, but you have to keep the fans happy too. What are your thoughts?