AUGUST 28, 2009
The F1 calendar for 2010
There has been much talk in Belgium on the subject of the Formula 1 calendar for 2010 but there does not yet appear to be a solid list of dates, despite one or two versions that have appeared on the Internet. It is clear that the intention is to mimic certain elements of this year's calendar but to add an earlier date, moving Bahrain to the start of the year. This makes sense as the track will then be able to host a major test a fortnight before the GP and all the equipment could be left in the Middle East until it was needed. This is cost-effective and will give everyone the chance to test in warm weather conditions. This would push Australia back to March 28, but that is the same weekend as it was this year. Malaysia would follow a week later.
There seems to be some question of whether or not there would then be a race in China or whether the Shanghai event would be put into an Asian trip at the end of the year. One calendar we have seen has the Turkish GP in April and then the circus would return to Europe for the traditional races in Spain and Monaco. The big question at the moment is whether or not there will be a Turkish GP. There is a contract in place but the local government does not seem to want the race any more. At the same time Formula 1 would like to return to Canada. The traditional Montreal date is in mid-June. This is currently no chance for a United States GP, so Montreal would need to stand alone, which will push up the cost for the teams. There is the added complication that Valencia wants a date which is not during the summer holiday period, which would mean moving from August. However it also wants to avoid being too soon after the Spanish GP in Valencia, which will be in May. The most likely date for the race is June 27, which would be seven weeks after Barcelona. The British GP remains in some doubt because of the problems at Donington Park, but the July 11 date is not brilliant as this would be a clash with the World Cup Final soccer game, which is traditionally one of the biggest TV events of the year. With the soccer happening in South Africa this would be on the same time zone as Britain although the game would probably take place in the evening. The German GP may or may not happen. If a deal can be found it would likely be a week before Hungary on the weekends of July 25 and August 1. There would then be a three-week break before Belgium, with Italy ending the European season on the first weekend of September.
However the idea that there will then be the same basic calendar as 2009 with the addition of China seems a little unlikely, as there is a contract in place for a race in South Korea and we hear that this will end the World Championship. The race website is still saying that all is set for 2010 and there is a seven-year contract, with a five-year option signed. The teams do not want to do more than 18 events and thus it is more likely that Turkey will be dropped and China left in April, Singapore and Japan would be twinned and the season would end with an Abu Dhabi-Korea double-header. The fly in the ointment is Brazil, which would fit in between the two Asian sorties. This makes little sense, but it is hard to see how it could be avoided.
The finished calendar is not expected until the end of October.