I think we are on provisional calendar number three at the moment, and while it is good for the sport to get such an important part of the Formula One World Championship correct, it is annoying me that I can’t book my summer holiday yet. And on a slightly more serious note, the Chinese Grand Prix has moved and there is still no return of Canada to the calendar, suggesting that there has been no further development between the Canadian officials and Bernie Ecclestone.
Since its inception in 2004, Shanghai has had a late spot on the calendar, usually following the Japanese Grand Prix in late-September or early-October. However, it has been decided to bring the event forward for 2009, meaning the race will now be held in mid-April. Sandwiched between Malaysia and Bahrain as the third round of the championship, travelling expenses have been kept to a minimum – the distance from Malaysia to China isn’t too great of a journey. This adjustment allows the season to finish a little earlier than had been previously mooted, and it brings the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi races forward by two weeks.
In 2003, it was decided to run the Brazilian Grand Prix in the first half of the season as opposed to its usual final-round status. This meant the event was held under a torrential downpour of rain and the race was red flagged after Fernando Alonso suffered an almighty accident on the run up the hill onto the start/finish straight. Ecclestone also decided once to bring the British Grand Prix forward, which also resulted in heavy rain falling throughout the weekend, turning the car park in to a mud bath.
However, Japan and China regularly see heavy rain during the latter part of the year, so by bringing the Chinese Grand Prix forward we might see improved weather. Also of note with this updated calendar is the lack of a Canadian Grand Prix. It had been stricken off with the previous schedule, prompting an outcry from the fans and the teams. It would mean North America not having any part in the Formula One World Championship, the US Grand Prix failing to return after its 2007 event. Talks were being held between the government and Bernie Ecclestone, but it would seem little progress has been made. Although, despite my upbeat post about improved transparency, we are in the dark as to any potential developments or possibilities of reinstatement.
The French Grand Prix has also been omitted now, and the team’s have been given their wish of a summer break, a month being freed up between the Hungarian round in late July and the European round (held at Valencia) in late August. Having said all this though, the calendar is still provisional and judging how many schedules we’ve had this year, I won’t be booking anything just yet!
2009 Formula One World Championship Calendar
It’s still provisional though…
|Australian Grand Prix Albert Park||March 29th, 2009|
|Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang||April 5th, 2009|
|Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai||April 19th, 2009|
Bahrain Grand Prix Sakhir
|April 26th, 2009|
|Spanish Grand Prix Circuit de Catalunya||May 10th, 2009|
|Monaco Grand Prix Monte Carlo||May 24th, 2009|
|Turkish Grand Prix Istanbul Park||June 7th, 2009|
|British Grand Prix Silverstone||June 21st, 2009|
|German Grand Prix Nurburgring||July 12th, 2009|
|Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring||July 26th, 2009|
|European Grand Prix Valencia||August 23rd, 2009|
|Belgian Grand Prix Spa Francorchamps||August 30th, 2009|
|Italian Grand Prix Monza||September 13th, 2009|
|Singapore Grand Prix Singapore||September 27th, 2009|
|Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka||October 11th, 2009|
|Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos||October 18th, 2009|
|Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Marina Bay||November 1st, 2009|
At the risk of showing my age… Back in the good ol’days – the season opener was Brazil (Rio) and finale took place in Australia (Adelaide). This used to work well for most people in the paddock as the trek to South America didn’t seem so bad when fresh from the winter break and of course the chance to take an post-season antipodean holiday in the sun before returning to the European winter was for many, the highlite of the year!!
Bernie soon put a stop to all this joy and hence things were reversed, Australia became a brief excursion on the way to Malaysia and we all end up in the one place no one really wants to stay longer than absolutely necessary!
There has always been some tinkering of the calendar, giving Silverstone an Easter date just to ensure a dry race 😉 is a good example. Nurburgring in late September so we could enjoy the white stuff falling out of the sky during FP3 is another!
And now Shanghai has been moved to April, which according to the weather statistics is a few degress cooler than October but a much higher chance of rain.
Given all the excitement that the rainfall in Sao Paulo created we may be seeing the start of a new strategy by Bernie to shake up races. In Sao Paulo even he got caught on the starting grid without an umberella and had to run for cover!
I can’t help but notice that there is a 3 week gap between the British GP and the German GP. It seems like the calendar is made to have some compression in it. Hopefully that means that Canada is still a possibility, and this schedule has been made with the thoughts that a few of the European races in July and August can be shifted a couple weeks to fit Canada in.
I remember those days as well, just. 😉
Providing the race is well-organised, this is a good thing in my mind. We had a lot of wet races in 2008, and it really shook the championship up.
Comedy gold! 😀
@Greg: I hope you’re right. Like most other North American’s, I’m hoping the discussions between Canada and Bernie haven’t completely broken down and there is a chance of reinstatement. It is also unusual that the calendar hasn’t been confirmed yet. Normally it doesn’t see any changes once the off-season is here, so maybe the FIA and FOM are waiting out to see what happens with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Odd how you say Interlagos was brought forward in 2003 having been usually held late in the season .I always remember Interlagos being held as the second/third race in the season until 2004- it was the opening round in 94 and 95 and before that usually right after Kyalami.
The thing that catches my eye is that after the German GP on the 12th of July, we might have to wait 49 days till the next good one.
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