What changes would F1 fans make to the calendar?
Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
Whenever a track enters or exits the calendar, there’s always a discussion about whether it deserves to be on the calendar or whether a different track should be on there in its place. Here at Divebomb, we further investigated it by asking our writers their dream F1 calendars to see what F1 fans really want to see on the calendar.
Silverstone, Spa, and Monza are three of Europe’s most iconic circuits and have all been on the calendar since F1’s inception - they were all unanimously voted for by our eight writers to remain on the calendar as well as two others. The first of the two, Bahrain, has only been on the F1 schedule since 2004 but it’s produced some dramatic moments in that time with the battle of the Silver Arrows in 2014 and the fireball crash of Romain Grosjean in 2020 being the most notable. Interestingly with Bahrain, two of the votes were for its outer layout to be used instead of the Grand Prix layout. The outer layout was of course used in the 2020 double-header which saw George Russell lose a win to a slow puncture late on after an absolutely crazy race. Finally, the most surprising of the five most popular was Singapore.
Other remaining tracks
Excluding the five tracks above, 12 of our 23 circuits are already on the F1 calendar. A lot of them, like the Red Bull Ring or Baku you would probably expect, whereas others are rather surprising. Despite questions surrounding whether or not it is still fit for F1 racing, Monaco remains on the calendar after 7 of our 8 put the iconic street circuit on the calendar. While the races around the streets of the principality aren’t always that entertaining, the race is the jewel in the Formula 1 crown and I don’t think F1 would be the same without it. Another potentially controversial track that our writers decided should remain on the calendar is Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. The track has been on the calendar since 2009, and has closed the F1 season since 2014. The Yas Marina circuit has received lots of criticism from fans in the years it has hosted F1, for lacking action in its races. The circuit opened in 2009 ahead of its inaugural Grand Prix with a construction cost of $1.322 billion, which has meant there has been no other options except keeping the track on the calendar.
Very interestingly, we had six tracks voted to return to the calendar having not been on it for a while. Some were on the calendar as recently as last season, and others haven’t seen F1 action since the 90s. Two of the most recent returnees are Portimao and Turkey. Portimao hosted its inaugural F1 race in the Corona-affected 2020 season, and hosted a second edition in 2021 to replace the Australian Grand Prix which was cancelled due to rising cases of Covid-19. Turkey’s Istanbul Park was a regular fixture on the F1 calendar from 2005-2011 but stopped hosting F1 after a disagreement between organisers and the FIA. Like Imola and Portugal, it returned in 2020 and 2021 to replace Japan which was cancelled both years. The 2020 edition was wet throughout and saw the drivers driving on skids the whole weekend on a circuit that had recently been resurfaced and provided the drivers with virtually no grip. Lewis Hamilton ended up winning that race and becoming a 7-time world champion.
The next two, Hockenheim and Sepang, were on the calendar as recently as 2019 and 2017 respectively, after both being on the calendar for years. The Hockenheimring lies in the heart of the Rhine valley and has hosted F1 intermittently from 1970 until 2019. The most recent event, 2019, was rain-affected and produced a crazy result with Daniil Kvyat netting a podium in changeable conditions. The Sepang International Circuit, found just outside of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur hosted F1 for just under 20 years from 1999-2017. The extreme weather of the Malaysian Grand Prix saw the drivers driving in heavy rain on numerous occasions and it seems that the action we were provided has been thoroughly missed by F1 fans.
The Kyalami circuit in South Africa hasn’t been on the calendar since the 90s but has received lots of support from fans who want it back on the calendar. As F1’s calendar expands, lots of fans want to see a race in Africa rather than in ultra-rich nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Perhaps the most surprising track on our 23-race calendar is the return of the Magny-Cours circuit in France. Paul Ricard has hosted the French Grand Prix for the past 5 years but it seems F1 fans are now officially bored of the circuit that’s seen very little action in F1 since its return to the calendar after a 28 year hiatus. While the new F1 regulations might change our view of Paul Ricard, our writers would rather see Magny-Cours return. Magny-Cours held the French Grand Prix from 1991-2008. The race was supposed to continue on in 2009 and potentially further but the FFSA withdrew financing for the event, cancelling it and taking it off of the calendar. Since then it’s hosted GTs but our writers think it’s about time it got a second shot at hosting F1.
There were 4 tracks removed from the calendar by our writers. The first of which was the Miami GP received a bit of support but not enough to warrant it a place on our already busy schedule. The Saudi Arabian GP received even less support despite hosting a race for just two years. While we haven’t had two dull or bad races, we’ve seen several high speed, high impact crashes. The lack of tech-pro barriers has caused multiple dangerous accidents in both F1 and F2. Mick Schumacher’s high speed accident in qualifying this year put him out of action for the race on Sunday and left fans worried about the safety of the drivers. The threat of a missile attack also loomed over that weekend and put the weekend at risk. After a long meeting between drivers, team bosses, and the FIA, the race went ahead as planned.
The Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya has been the venue of pre-season testing for years and years but has routinely failed to produce any action in the races it has held for decades. The Spanish GP is up next on the F1 calendar in real life so hopefully with the new regulations, we’ll get some better action. The final track to not make the cut for us is the Chinese Grand Prix. Due to Covid we haven’t seen the race since 2019 but in all honesty, it hasn’t really been missed on the calendar. It’s previously had some dramatic moments but in general the races are very rarely thrilling for us fans and so our writers decided to remove it from the calendar.
1. Bahrain Grand Prix - Sakhir International Circuit
2. Australian Grand Prix - Albert Park Street Circuit
3. Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku Street Circuit
4. Turkish Grand Prix - Istanbul Park
5. Emilia Romagne Grand Prix - Imola Circuit
6. Portuguese Grand Prix - Algarve International Circuit
7. Monaco Grand Prix - Circuit de Monaco
8. French Grand Prix - Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours
9. British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit
10. Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring
11. German Grand Prix - Hockenheimring
12. Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring
13. Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps
14. Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza
15. Malaysian Grand Prix - Sepang International Circuit
16. Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit
17. Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka International Circuit
18. South African Grand Prix - Kyalami International Circuit
19. Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
20. American Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas
21. Mexican Grand Prix - Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
22. Brazilian Grand Prix - Interlagos Circuit
23. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit
Those were the changes we’d make. What changes would you make? Let us know in the comments. From me, though, it’s goodbye for now.