Yesterday, the FIA announced their provisional schedule for the 2011 Formula One World Championship. The season is being lengthened by one race to 20 Grands Prix because of the addition of the Indian Grand Prix. The rest of the events from this year’s calendar return, though some of their dates have been shuffled.
2011 F1 Schedule
- March 13 – Bahrain (Bahrain International Circuit)
- March 27 – Australia (Albert Park)
- April 10 – Malaysia (Sepang International Circuit)
- April 17 – China (Shanghai International Circuit)
- May 8 – Turkey (Istanbul Park)
- May 22 – Spain (Circuit de Catalunya)
- May 29 – Monaco (Streets of Monte Carlo)
- June 12 – Canada (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)
- June 26 – Europe (Streets of Valencia)
- July 10 – Britain (Silverstone)
- July 24 – Germany (Nurburgring)
- July 31 – Hungary (Hungaroring)
- August 28 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
- September 11 – Italy (Monza)
- September 25 – Singapore (Streets of Singapore)
- October 9 – Japan (Suzuka Circuit)
- October 16 – Korea (Korean International Circuit)
- October 30 – India (Jaypee Greens Sports City)
- November 13 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Island)
- November 27 – Brazil (Interlagos)
The best news from this is that Brazil is back to being the final race of the season. It was expected to assume that position at the end of this season but Abu Dhabi kept the finale for the second straight year. Interlagos always provides an entertaining race and the unpredictable changing weather means that the we’re never certain who’s won the championship until the checkered flag falls.
Next year also sees the introduction of the Indian Grand Prix. This circuit has the potential to be exciting because there are elevation changes in the layout and teams have been consulted for feedback on the circuit layout. Complete data was provided to teams so they could set up their simulators to run the course and get driver feedback. A couple of turns were actually changed based on what the drivers thought based on the simulations. Hopefully they didn’t take any of the challenge or raciness of the track with those modifications.
As for other scheduling swaps, there aren’t many. Turkey opens up the European season instead of Spain. There are two plusses to this move. The first race of the European portion of the schedule will actually have racing in it instead of a parade like at Barcelona. Also, this move allows Monaco to go back to its traditional Memorial Day weekend date alongside the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 (or, as the fans call it, 1300 miles of racing in a day). This year is also the scheduled to be a Nurburgring year to host the German Grand Prix.
Slightly less exciting for the teams and media but good for the fans is the four back-to-back race weekends. Paired up races include Malaysia and China, Spain and Monaco, Germany and Hungary, and Japan and Korea. There are often mixed opinions over the need of these rapid turnarounds between races. I think they’re necessary for the “fly-away” races because of the costs of either flying the team members back and forth from the factory to the track or lodging them for two weeks between races. However, the quick turnarounds between European race baffle me. Give the team members an easier time while at home. They’re run ragged enough during the overseas portion of the season that they shouldn’t be zombies the whole time at home. Unless they make the factories shut down for a week between China and Turkey, they should just make that two weeks between the races and lengthen the turnaround between one of the two back-to-back European rounds.