There were contingency plans in place in case F1 couldn’t go qualifying at the Red Bull Ring due to the heavy and persistent rain that was forecasted.
Michael Lamonato penned a recent article about the excessive Formula One schedule.
If Miami and Vietnam present viable models for 2020, that would bring the calendar to 23 races. Argentina could even bring it to 24.
Something has to give.
I’d like to see a maximum of 20 races, with European races being two weekends on and one off to ensure that flyover races don’t have to be back-to-back, but Liberty aren’t going to be that drastic. 22 races is a likely figure.
The question is, what venues would be in the firing line?
The shortcomings of Monaco are well-established but irrelevant. Monaco is Formula 1. It’s not going anywhere. With Singapore being promoted as the modern Eastern equivalent, it is similarly safe.
Spa, Monza and Silverstone. Great support, great history, great racing. Germany and Japan each have two venues worthy of the calendar for the same reasons.
Spain and Hungary’s usage as test venues makes them safe. And France and Austria have the pedigree and crowds, including many willing to cross the border. With multiple Frenchmen on the grid and Red Bull owning the Spielberg circuit, they too are both safe.
Liberty are obviously determined to crack their home country, so Texas is a no-brainer, and Canada and Mexico are de facto home events. Brazil needs to work on security, course upgrades and are hampered by the state of their nation’s economy, but the quality of track layout, loyal fans, history of the event and favourable time zone work in their favour.
They’re staying on the calendar.
China’s population is over a billion. Need I say more? The UAE, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Russia have a lot of money behind them. Bernie’s gone, but money still talks in F1.
Which leaves us with…Australia. Let’s see, terrible time zone for Europe and no willingness to make it a nighttime event, government opposition to the cost of the event, a city that only a comparatively small number of people are close enough to drive to, and a circuit that could best be described as “not the worst of the street circuits.”
Obviously, it would alienate our audiences if Albert Park was dropped from the calendar, and the teams may miss having a ‘safe’ season opener to prepare for, but they’re not compelling arguments.
I don’t have the solutions, but Melbourne needs to do something to make themselves more appealing than the likes of Baku, Budapest, Sakhir and Hanoi.