The good, the bad, and the ugly. FIA releases the 2012 calendar.

Posted: September 1, 2011 by Matt Ruda in Uncategorized

So, as you may have guessed from the title, the FIA released their 2012 calendar today. As expected the list was cut to twenty. Also as expected, they have been complete idiots when it comes to which race is cut and organizing the calendar. In all fairness, it’s not all bad, but a quick look shows the negatives outweighing the positives. Below is a quick rundown of the 2012 calendar’s good, bad, and ugly.


Testing Returns: After a knee-jerk total ban on in season testing, the FIA has designated a three week period before the Spanish GP as a sort of mini R&D break. Teams will be allowed three days around Mugello to, presumably, do whatever the hell they want. This should allow the teams to analyze problems that evolve during an entire GP, test improvements, and rebuild parts for their car using substantive data instead of relying on a “bolt it on for a race, pray it works” approach. With any luck, this will prevent another Red Bull 2011 scenario (or depending on how you look at it, a Williams 2011 scenario as well) and allow the smaller teams (who lack funding to basically bring a new car to each event) a chance to observe what works well and capitalize on it.

TL;DR: Three days to test, three weeks to prep and analyze, should allow for more natural car development rather than the fits and starts we’ve seen.

The United States Gets a GP: Alright, some of you might not care about this, but this is something I’m looking forward to.  The second paddock passes go on sale, this guy is getting one. After the massive cockup that was the last American GP this is our big second chance. The November date also means I can enjoy some F1 magic without sweating my ass off.


The Organization: I’ve always argued that a great way to cut costs in F1 would be to group the races in a more logical way. While improvements have been made, some of these last minute changes are a bit perplexing.  We have events go from SE Asia, to China, then the Middle East, then western Europe, then North America, back to Europe, back to Asia, back to the Middle East, and wrapping up in America.

How can this be improved? Why not group all the events by region. Start in Asia, go to the Middle East, then Europe, and wrap in America. Group each regions’ GP’s close together, with breaks in between for development. This can do two things. First, it decreases the amount of unnecessary travel. Secondly, knowing they’ll be out for weeks at a time, this may give teams an incentive to set up facilities in new regions of the world. This approach can save money, increase F1’s brand reach, and provide new employment opportunities all in one.

Turkey Drops: We all kinda knew this was coming anyway. We just didn’t want to admit it. FOM’s failure to properly promote the GP, lack of interest, no Turkish driver, whatever the reason(s) for poor attendance may be, Bernie and Co. have had enough. What’s depressing is Turkey has always provided some great racing. Sure, this year was a bit of a faff but that’s more on Pirelli and the FIA. Pirelli for making their tires too cliffy, the FIA for making the DRS so fecking long that it became a push-to-pass GP. Otherwise, Turkey provides great racing and, while not Spa level unpredictable, the conditions always bring a nice variable to the table.

Here’s a rundown of tracks that should go before Turkey:

China: Track is so unoriginal it’s not funny. It has turns copied from Malaysia, then Malaysia again, then Spain, then Malaysia, then Spain some more. Going there means breathing air with enough chemicals to kill a small country. Not worth it in my opinion.

Bahrain: Do you even need to ask?

Valencia: See above.

Hungary: This year was interesting, and the track has lots of history, but I prefer Turkey’s layout. Purely a personal choice.


Five Week Break: You may have noticed I didn’t list “more back to back races” up there. This is the reason why. For some reason, three weeks is not enough time for the drivers to chillax and get form back *cough* Lewis *cough*. Whatever their reasoning may be, this is an extraordinary length of time. Why not use this space for Turkey, or if you still want to drop that race, why not add in a French GP? This makes no sense to me. The only thing I can think of is this is a placeholder for when Russia gets a GP in 2014.

So what do you guys think? You agree with this, or am I full of it? Let me know, I won’t censor comments to make it look like you agree with me, promise. 😉



  1. thevillainf1 says:

    Seems a bit of a strange calender. Lots of back to back races but also some major breaks in between.
    I won’t miss Turkey: one good corner does not make a good track. Adds insult to injury for Felipe..the one track he really loves and has a great record on, gone. I also believe (or rather, hope very much) that 2012 will be the last year with 2 Spanish GPs. Valencia begone, please!
    Spa’s contract ends 2012, so expect a French GP in 2013 taking its spot to start the alternating.
    Bahrain in April? Yea, right. It was not very publicized, but a pretty major Golf tournament sheduled for January ’12 was cancelled this month….
    In other news: someone please slap the shit outta Tilke.

    • JourneyTH says:

      I’d say that one good turn is better than what most other Asian tracks by Tilke have going for it. I’ll definitely miss Turkey.

      As far as I remember, Tilke is doing both the American GP and our Russian GP. I’ve seen the track layouts for the Russian one, so far it’s a big “meh”.

  2. JMD says:

    Turkey is indeed fantastic and suffers from too much attention of turn 8. Aside from that, the interest is just not there and wherever the blame, reason and responsibility lies, is immaterial. It’ll be shared across all parties I would say.

    Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the Turkey GP but I am a huge fan of the Hungary GP so it won’t be surprising that I’m OK with the decision. Hungary has a lot of history, it is one of the old circuits and the atmosphere there is something to behold. I’ve not been to Turkey much less the circuit though I don’t need to have been to see the lack of enthusiasm compared with other GP venues.

    For me, Turkey leaving the schedule seems a done deal even last year. Bahrain is a track I’ve grown to appreciate a little more thanks to F1 2010 and I firmly chose to leave the political out of the conversation on whether to go there or not. Unrest cancelled last years race and as far as I can see, 2012 is not a given there either.

    “Alright, some of you might not care about this, but this is something I’m looking forward to. ” … Matt.

    Where did this sheepishness come from? USA being back in the calender re-dresses that missing pin in the map of the work depicting where F1 races are help. This is all good and by the sounds of things, the track will be good. The debacle of Indy all those years ago may come to the surface but a successful Austin weekend will banish them to the annals of the history book’s “By the way, did you know” section.

    Regarding the schedule in general, it struck me to also as why not geographically group the races. My second thought was …. “but this would be to ignore on important fact …. all the teams are heavily based on Europe and need to come home”.

    EU is where their factories are and where their management is based. So I think the schedule is in part designed to provide the teams with the necessary contact time back at the factories throughout the season.

    Valencia is a bike circuit or a testing circuit in the F1 calender.

  3. 5 damn weeks! I almost had a case of depression during this august break. Unbelievable! Quoting Seb, “seriously, guys, are you ****** kidding me”

  4. JMD says:

    Yea …. missed this but just been reading a little more ….. this break just done was long enough …. longer is for sure bad news … but hopefully, Steve and Matt will be able to keep the ball rolling here on Backmarkersf1 during that time …. hint …hint …. di ya get it … hint ….


  5. Gareth says:

    I disagree with Matt wanting Hungary gone, I really enjoyed the race this year. Yes, it was mainly down to conditions but it’s one of the more demanding tracks and the drivers like it, plus the attendance is usually high.

  6. Ferrari123planb says:

    Bad callender, just bad, and me being American i really wanted to see the USA GP earlier, but now i have to wait extra months.And i love Istanbul Park (turkey) its such a great track with the famous turn 8, there is so many tracks not as good as this. Korea is the basic twisty turns, valencia is more boring than retards playing golf, and Bahrain is just a plain horrible circuit, always boring, super ugly track, and we only go cuz of the money *cough* bernie *cough*.

    and i would love to see Magny-Cours back, but bernie wants da money! and 5 weeks is way to long, i already get bored with 1 week breaks! but im just glad about the USA GP, it looks like it will be a great track too!

  7. Montoya's Broken Head says:

    I’m so relieved to see the US GP moved back to November. After they released the provisional calendar a few months ago, I was thinking that Bernie should have his head examined for wanting a race here in June. After suffering through the Texas heat this summer (81 days of 100+ degrees F here), a GP here in June would’ve been worse than the 1984 Grand Prix in Dallas.

    Not too disappointed about Turkey losing their GP date, although I’d rather see Valencia or Bore-ain taken off the calendar before Turkey. At this point, Massa had better hope that Bahrain can get its 2012 race in this time around. Of his 11 career wins, 3 have been at Turkey and 2 were at Bahrain (including a 2nd place finish there last year). Having to race in 2012 without either of those races, and then trying to find a contract offer for 2013? That wouldn’t be good news.

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