The Grand Prix Of Spain

Formula 1’s return to Europe, began with yesterday’s Grand Prix of Spain. In a race where many predicted to see a repeat driver or team win, it was Pastor Maldonado and Williams who secured top honors. The win marked a first for Maldonado, who’s in his 2nd year of Formula 1. It also saw the end of an 8 year drought, for one of racing’s most storied teams.

While it may not have been the most exciting race so far this season, the controversial Pirelli tires ensured an unpredictable one for all the teams. 2012 is seeing a massive shift, where teams who have long dominated the sport, are having to find new ways of staying on top. Tire strategy is more important than ever and as we’ve seen many times, it can make or break a race weekend.

Williams Ends The Drought

I’m not going to say that Williams is a contender, not just yet. McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull all had lousy weekends and when those teams are on, they’re hard to beat. With that said, a solid drive by Pastor Maldonado, a driver I’ve never really been fond of. People have made comments in the past, myself included, that Maldonado is a pay driver. He proved his worth on Sunday and held the lead for much of the race. A great pitting strategy by Williams ensured Maldonado the win. Things didn’t fare so well for his teammate, Bruno Senna, although he’s another driver that has shown considerable improvement this season. Williams have gotten their act together in 2012 with a car that’s dialed in and quicker than Ferrari’s F2012.

McLaren In Shambles

There’s no other way to say it, McLaren are a train wreck. It’s the kind of slow moving catastrophe, you can see coming from a mile away. For some reason, it’s all a big joke for Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, who likes using the UK media as his personal diary. 3 weeks ago, Whitmarsh made remarks in response to the team’s horrendous pitting strategy. He defended the wheel mechanic who botched Hamilton’s race and said the team were behind him. In Spain we learned the mechanic in question, had been relieved of his job. Rightfully so, but why discuss it in the first place?

With two of the biggest driver’s in the sport and a budding road-going division, McLaren are becoming the most Hollywood of Formula 1 teams. The irony in the situation, is that the drivers aren’t to blame for the team’s shortcomings. On the back of a horrific season in 2011, Lewis Hamilton has turned over a new leaf. He’s arguably driving better now, than he ever has. He seems to have a clearer mind and is determined to win another Driver’s Championship with McLaren. However, his team are keeping that from happening. There was no excuse for sending Hamilton out in Q3, without enough fuel in the car. Those are the kinds of silly mistakes one would expect from rookie teams, not the sport’s Imperial Powerhouse.

Despite everything his team is throwing at him, Hamilton had one hell of a race. I’m tired of people from the We Hate Lewis bandwagon. The man’s still got it and Sunday’s drive proved it. Following his Q3 penalty, Hamilton started in 24th and finished a respectable 8th. This isn’t the grid of 2011 either. Most of the midfield teams are more competitive than ever. On the other hand, Jenson Button was lame on Sunday. He cruised the car to a mediocre 9th, after getting knocked out in Q2. Button was quoted in the media saying he was just going to “forget this one”.

It may be time for Ron Dennis to spend some time back in the pit lane. His presence as Team Principal, is severely missed and I’m not sure Whitmarsh is up to the job. Ultimately, the remainder of the season will determine, whether or not he’s working for McLaren in 2013. The same can be said for Hamilton, who is surely on his way out, if the team can’t turn things around. It’s going to be a telling next couple of races.

Drivers & Tires

For all the crying Michael Schumacher has been doing about Pirelli’s tires, many of the drivers seem to be flourishing on the new rubber. It’s been very advantageous for teams like Ferrari, who don’t have a solid car, but have managed to have fantastic races at the hands of Fernando Alonso. I have great respect for Alonso and the job he’s done this season. While he didn’t win on Sunday, he had another great race. The F2012 is a car no one had faith in, but Alonso is working it.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus are also off to a great start. The car is no doubt quick and Kimi is on the hunt. For a guy who prides himself on not giving a damn, he’s certainly had a lot of passion following the last 2 races, in which he thought he should’ve won. Week after week I’ve said it’s only a matter of time, before his first race victory this season. With the way things are going, it could be any weekend now.

I’ve struggled with my opinions of the tires this season. While they’ve certainly made racing more fun to watch and kept the season extremely unpredictable, they’ve made qualifying a complete bore. Most teams are opting out of Q3 hot laps, in favor of conserving rubber. The drivers are also holding back during racing, for the same reason. There’s no doubt they could push the cars far more than they do and that in of itself, would create more wheel to wheel racing and more excitement, for the drivers and their fans. A lot of them have come to the defense of Pirelli, following Schumacher’s comments, but I’m not buying it. These guys don’t race on the World’s stage to look after tires.

Fire In The Paddock

You’ve already read about the fire that broke out in the Williams garage, following the Grand Prix of Spain. I think it’s a shame; to end on such a high, only to have that overshadowed by such chaos. It was really great to see the other team’s immediate support, when the incident broke out and even better to know, that no one was seriously injured. In the safety era of Formula 1, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous it still is.

The glitz and glamor of Monte Carlo is less than 2 weeks away.

Photos courtesy of F1 Fanatic.



  1. On the driver’s side, I believe a complete driver needs three qualities: skill, consistency, and mental strength. With a good car, you only need two to win a championship. With all three, you can do it in an underperforming car.

    I don’t know if you catch the BBC broadcast or the Speed one, but if you’ve been watching BBC, I agree with their commentary. Hamilton is back to his old form. He is driving well, consistently. But McLaren is having their issues. It’s easy and fun to speculate what’s going to happen and blame the team, but it goes to prove racing is truly a team sport. This is where Hamilton has grown, he has added mental toughness to his repertoire, making him a complete driver. He is standing behind the team through thick and thin because he knows he has to. It is a joint success or failure. I’m glad he’s driving well though, the hype surrounding him when he entered the sport back in 07 is what got me into F1 to begin with. I find it fascinating though, the parallels between Hamilton and A. Senna. I suspect at the end of the day, Hamilton, if not Alonso, will emerge as the best of our generation.

    As for Button, everyone has an off day. In any other sport, players have good and bad days. It’s a law of averages. I’ve always believed Button lacked in the skill portion, but skill alone doesn’t win championships. For example, Eli Manning and the Giants took home the Lombardi this year, not Tom Brady and the Patriots. In the NBA, Dirk and the Mavericks won the title last year, not the Big Three of the Heat. Button will bounce back as he always has, Button has been consistent throughout his career and he excels in mental strength, but this further stamps Lewis’ brilliance in my mind.

    Maldonado has impressed me all year. A classmate and I were actually talking about Williams and Maldonado at the beginning of the year. We were discussing who is the number one driver on the team, Maldonado or B. Senna. I said they’re going to have to fight for that title, but Maldonado was the senior at the team, being one of the few people on that team being carried over from the 2011 season. I, like many others, brushed him off as a paid driver and assumed he couldn’t compete at the top level. However, my classmate is from Venezuela and had a much different view as he was a GP2 champion and that he belonged. It seems he has the skill and mental strength, we’ll see if he can do it consistently to become a contender.

    Although I’ve never been a fan, Kimi is always a contender. He has massive talent, is consistent, and is mentally tough, but from the outside, it seems like something is missing. Passion maybe? I know he enjoys driving, competing, and winning, but he’s very stoic about it. I think he lacks the never-say-die attitude of his peers so he is only consistent when he wants to be consistent. Still, it’s not an ingredient necessary to win, as he’s proved in 07 (which I still to this day believe he stole what rightfully should have been Hamilton’s).

    The talent gap for most of the grid is so small, it’s hard for the drivers to really shine. They rely so heavily on the team and their cars to succeed. I believe the talent of the driver shines if he can finish in a position the car has no right to be in. For example: when Vettel won at Monza in 08 in a Toro Rosso, Perez finishing 2nd and Alonso winning at Malaysia. Those were all also wet races, which brings out the driver’s talent.

    I agree with the mixed feelings on tires though. I would love to see a compromise between last year and this year. The sport is a lot more interesting to watch and follow, but at the same time it hinders talent and requires much more strategy. I’d love to see a compound that keeps the deg. falloff, but be pushed a few more laps before it gives. Right now, the softer sets are good for about a second, but can only be pushed for ten laps or so, and so you lose time pitting than you do gaining by using them. Which is probably why in China and Barcelona teams opted for the harder primes. Basically, I’d like to see tires that requires one less pit stop than they do now and a greater time difference between the different compounds. So if a race requires three stops as Barcelona did, I’d like to see a tire that could last to make a two stopper work. Because of the incredibly short pit stops (unless you’re McLaren ;X ), the drivers would have an option of either driving at a pace on the primes to make that strategy work or push hard and try to squeeze in an extra stop with the options for the last stint.

    2012 is having an EPIC start, I can’t wait to see what happens at the end of the year.

    1. I always appreciate your comments Earl, they’re way too good not to be seen. Start a blog again!

      I’m very impressed with Lewis right now. He’s handling himself as a champion. Last year he would’ve been quick to scrutinize the team in the media, following this weekend. This time he’s not done that. Shows a lot of character on his part. I’ve also noticed him spending a lot more time with his father, both in and out of the paddock. I have no doubt that has something to do with it.

      What are your thoughts on Mercedes and Red Bull right now? I think Mercedes came out very strong, but have really fallen back to their old ways, especially in the case of Schumi. Nico’s doing well but Michael can’t even finish a race. You could tell how frustrated he was on Sunday, after that crash with Senna, throwing his steering wheel out of the car.

      I’m also wondering what’s going on at RBR. They’re really not on their A-game right now. Vettel, despite his win 3 weeks ago, seems distant. The fire that was burning last year doesn’t seem to be going as strong right now. You think he’s having a tough time adjusting to not winning every race?

      I’m also curious as to why you nominate Lewis as the greatest driver of our generation, over Vettel?

  2. It’s a Newey car, they are always willing to gamble and try to maximize on the grey areas of the rule book. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and Ross Brawn, the two remaining mavericks in F1 engineering. They are willing to go for broke, so when they get it wrong, it shows, but when they get it right, they are unstoppable.

    If I had to break it down, I’d say Newey is my favorite team, so as long as he is on Red Bull, I will support them. If he were to make a switch, I would as well. Maybe this is playing it safe, but where he goes, that team becomes a serious contender.

    With Merc, I’m not sure what’s going on. They still have the ability to win, the car has good mechanical grip for the low speed tracks and the W-duct for high speed tracks so theoretically they should be dominant. They really need to capitalize on that this year while they still have that advantage before the W-duct gets banned or everyone else adds it and closes the gap next year. Maybe the tires are playing a large part in Merc’s lack of results. I’ll say it again, I want to see Nico in a competitive team, I think he has the ability to win a championship. He has clearly been the number one driver at Merc since the beginning. Where Schumi is concerned, I was a fan of him before I was really a fan of F1. Now, I respect the guy, but I’m not a fan. I believe his cunning is what got him all those championships, leaving his legacy slightly tainted in my mind. However, in his second career, he seems to be much more relaxed as he has nothing left to prove. He has been very unlucky, so it’s easy to see his frustration building, but it’s hard to say he’s still competitive. It may be the tires, the car, Michael himself, or a combination of all three but looking at the facts, Nico has beat him on points for the last three year running, so if he can’t beat his teammate, I don’t know how he’s going to beat the rest of the grid. That said, I do hope he makes another appearance on the podium before he bows out for good.

    I like Vettel, he is talented beyond belief. I believe he is the fastest guy on the grid. He is also extremely consistent, but he still has to work on mental toughness. He’s had Helmut Marko to back him up, right or wrong, this entire time. On his comments about Karthikeyan earlier this year, on one hand I like that he’s no appears vanilla, but on the other hand in my mind Vettel was at fault for cutting across so closely and he just looked like a crybaby with his comments. He still needs to develop this part of his skill set to be a truly complete driver. I don’t know how Vettel would do if he were at another team, without Marko to shield him.

    As far as Vettel vs. Hamilton, it’s just more of a Prost vs. Senna deal. Prost has more hardware, but Senna had the genius. Both are still considered all-time greats. It’s just down to personal opinion. Don’t let the Senna documentary fool you into believing Prost to be the villain he was painted as, they needed each other to cement their legacies. Alonso is probably the most complete driver on the grid right now; had he gotten along better with Hamilton during his stint at McLaren, he could have been a four-times world champion by now. That’s his weakness, he needs the team to focus on him for him to be successful.

    Thanks for putting my opinion in such high regard, but as they say, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.” I have started blogging again, but rather than concentrating on the stagnant car scene, or touting my opinions to add to the junk floating on the internet, this new one is a way to share my engineering experiences and knowledge. That way, hopefully, I can contribute to something useful.

    1. I really try to like Vettel, but I just can’t. He’s a nice guy and I liked his interview on Top Gear, but he just comes off as corny. His personality seems very scripted and I’m sure a lot of that has to do with Marko shielding him. The Karthikeyan rant definitely came off as more of a genuine comment, but yeah, he just sounded like a crybaby.

      With that said I have the upmost respect for Adrian Newey and Mark Webber. I’ve been a big fan of Webber for years and I think out of all the driver’s on the grid, he’s the one I’d most like to sit down and have a beer with. He’s always great to the media and very honest. At the same time you never really hear him say anything bad about anyone. He’s a lot like Jenson Button in that way and it’s probably why they’re buddies off the track. I’m really pulling for Webber to win a couple of races this year though. His career is on the later end and it would be nice to see him finish with some success. I think driver’s like Schumacher, trying to stay around in their 40’s is dumb. They should be handing over the reigns to the newer generation.

      Speaking of Schumacher, he needs to retire. I know he’s primarily on Mercedes to serve as a mentor and wingman to Nico Rosberg. But Nico out drives him week after week, so at what point does Michael’s presence become irrelevant? I think he should serve as more of a background role and leave the driving up to someone with something to prove. If there’s nothing left to prove, what’s the motivation to win (or to finish)?

      I used to hate Alonso, but I’ve gained a great deal of respect for him over the years. I don’t think his time at Ferrari has been particularly great. Their car’s haven’t been that competitive, but he’s made them all work. I think he’s currently the most complete driver on the grid and he’s matured a lot since joining the team. It’s also nice to see him and Lewis being civil with each other in recent years. I think there’s now a mutual respect, that wasn’t there before.

      Glad to see you’re blogging about something different. The last thing we need are more import blogs. There’s way too many already and that’s part of the reason why I’ve begun to branch things out on here. The scene is dying a slow painful death.

      1. I agree, I’d like to see the drivers be more candid, which is why it’s always interesting to hear what Webber and Kimi have to say. Webber has paid his dues, and I am really rooting for him this year. I hope he can fix his starting woes; he just keeps struggling with the launch. If he can get a better start, he wouldn’t always have to be starting races on his back foot.

        I hope Schumi wins a race this year, then quietly leaves on a high note when his contract ends at the end of the season.

        I’ve never been an Alonso fan either, but have a great respect for him as a driver. Winning twice against Michael and Ferrari when they were still the top dogs. Ferrari has really been struggling in the modern era and as a result Alonso has been fighting with a hand tied behind his back.

        I’m not sure it’s entirely Whitmarsh’s fault, but being the principal, the responsibility is his. Something is just amiss over at McLaren. I’m also disappointed with Force India’s lack of pace this year. They’ve been steadily gaining a position in the manufacturer’s championship every year but this year they’re back to where they started in the pecking order.

        I think the guy below means the top three are:
        1 (tie) Alonso
        1 (tie) Hamilton
        3 Kimi
        For me, I’d slot Vettel in 3, and Kimi just under it because Kimi is in his prime and Vettel has yet to peak. As of right now, if things continue this way, I think Hamilton will be considered the best of this era, but if Vettel can evolve, he has the potential to emerge as the GOAT. Granted the racing is largely different, we haven’t seen a field this competitive in twenty or thirty years. These are exciting times for F1.

        I’m so glad my preseason predictions are being proven incorrect. I thought the battle for third would be the most exciting, but the entire order has been mesmerizing to watch. Can you tell I could talk about this for days? lol Stoked for Monaco.

  3. I wish the FIA would give each team one brand new set of options for qualifying and not use that against their sets per compound for the race/quali.

    That way we could once again see some fireworks in qualifying, and see what these 2012 cars are really capable of.

    As for Lewis, I’ve been biased and considered him the most talented guy in F1 since his rookie season (and this is coming from a guy who was a die-hard Schumi fan from about 2002-2006), this season he’s proven me right on that front and taken it a step further to prove himself as the most (or second most) complete driver in the field.

    This season has driven me to rank the top 3 drivers in the field like this:

    1a: Lewis
    1b: Alonso

    They are both worlds faster than their teammates (neither of which are what I’d call slouches)

    3: Kimi

    He’s proven he’s still got it, and I still think he’s a bit of a ways to being 100% back.

    After watching every race this season, I don’t see how anyone can truly say Vettel is on the same level as those three guys.

    As for McLaren, PLEASE BRING RON BACK.

    1. I agree with you on the tires for qualifying. Why the FIA and Pirelli are making the tire situation so difficult for the teams is beyond reasoning. Formula 1 has made a lot of steps in recent years, to make the racing more fun for the fans. The tire thing is becoming ridiculous though. Qualifying is usually my favorite part of race weekend, but that’s been a big let down this year.

      I’m so tired of how everyone has to be PC all the time. The drivers have so many sponsors to please that they can never truly be themselves. Even the celebrations following a grand prix are rushed, so the driver’s can be whisked away for post race interviews. I have a feeling a lot more of them are unhappy about the Pirellis, than Schumacher alone. But look at all the flack he’s getting in the media for having an opinion. The problem is he’s not doing well, so it sounds like he’s just being a crybaby. If more teams an driver’s came out with truthful opinions, I think we’d see the FIA and Pirelli make more of an effort to change it up.

      If Lewis and Alonso are tied for number 1, who’s number 2, since you’ve got Kimi in 3?

      I’m with you on McLaren. I’m completely biased and I’m sure it comes though in my recaps. I’m just a big fan of their drivers, not so much the team. Whitmarsh is a hand puppet and Ron Dennis is too busy running an automotive company. It’s a shame too because the MP4-27 is a great car and if the mechanics could get a clue, they’d be winning a lot more races.

      1. They’re tied for number 1 which leaves no straight number 2. If I had to add someone behind Kimi that’s where it gets tough for me. So many guys have shown potential.

        -Schumi – What can be said that hasn’t already? One of the great champions ever in motorsport.
        -Button – Consistent, veteran, smart racer, seems like a good guy, doesn’t have the raw speed to rank up there.
        -Massa – seemed to have it all in 2008, after his accident he’s been worlds off that place.
        -Webber – Consistent, fast, smart, aggressive, not a champion though.
        -Vettel, a champion, quick, smart, I can’t place him at the top with his lack of driving a bad, or even average, car.

        If I had to win one race, and I had the choice of any of these guys (the current forms, not 2001 Schumi, 2008 Massa, etc.) I’d have to go with Webber.

  4. oh and as for the import scene i grew up with and loved, it’s sad to watch the demise. it’s like watching a car stuck on the train tracks, you can see the accident coming but are powerless to stop it. on one hand, the quality of execution has gotten better, but on the other hand the creativity is gone. cars have more or less always been a dick measuring contest, but instead of seeing who can build a better car, it has become who can be the most extreme and flashiest.

    i think it has more to do with our generation as a whole than the individual players. we value style over substance, we swallow “truths” fed to us without stopping to ask questions. it’s sad that we have all the knowledge throughout human history available at our fingertips and we use to see who can be more retarded.

    i do feel guilty for having my hand in this trend. for me, it was never about trying to be the most extreme, it was a question of “can i do this?” but everyone jumped on the bandwagon before asking themselves “should i do this?”

    still, i’m glad to see how the performance side of things has grown. long gone are the days of mass production; we are now in the era of mass customization. i’m glad we have options for every budget. it’s not like in the old days where apex’i n1’s or tein he’s were your only coilover options or ikeya formula was the only place to get adjustable links. knock-offs may deter people from going to brand name parts who have put in the r&d hours, but that’s the nature of economics. it means companies must continually prove their worth or risk losing market share. for people who take their cars to the track, this is a great thing. more and more high-tech go fast parts are making their way down to consumers and for cheaper. in fact, i’m debating on whether or not i want to develop a gt wing design using some borrowed f1 technology for time attack cars right now. ;]

    1. “we value style over substance, we swallow “truths” fed to us without stopping to ask questions.”

      Said like a true engineer, but I completely agree with you. It’s all about instant gratification these days and the concept of “all good things take time” has been completely lost. Social networking and HF has had a big impact in the demise of the car scene. Before people could share their ride with 50,000 of their peers, they built the car for themselves, not to appease the masses.

  5. I would just like to say, thank you to Chris for making F1 related posts and to Earl for his comments on the post. Good F1 discussion is hard to find, at least in the US.

    As for Whitmarsh, I think one of his problems is his own intelligence. Might he simply be too smart/analytical in doing things to succeed in F1? Out of all the F1 team bosses I’ve seen, he seems to lack the charisma of the rest, I mean need anything more than these two words need to be said on that subject:

    Flavio Briatore.

    1. For sure. I love the conversation we have going about the grand prix. Like Earl, I could talk about it all day long. None of my friends really care about the sport, which is a shame, because I have no one to chat with about it (on a face-to-face level). That’s partly why I get such a kick blogging about it.

      I blame Whitmarsh because he’s an easy target. I don’t know who the pit mechanics are, so it’s difficult to single any one else out, especially when the drivers aren’t at fault. I think Whitmarsh had a lot to do with the fueling issue the team had Saturday and I’m sure he has more than a little influence, who’s operating the wheel guns on race day. In both instances he chose to handle the situations poorly.

      I doubt Ron Dennis will ever return as team principle. He’s too busy running an automotive company.

  6. I read your F1 posts and I just finished reading the comments here, but I can’t help but feel so lost. I want to know what’s going on in F1, but my brain doesn’t know where to start. LOL I feel there’s a lot of history to know in order to fully understand the sport. :\

    1. Just start by tuning in and watching the races, you’ll pick it up as you go along. is a great site to keep up with current events. also if you search torrent databases, you should find one for the Official F1 season reviews from 1990-2010. that will give you recaps of each race of the last twenty years, a good way to learn some of the history.

    2. I’m with Earl. You need to start by just watching the races. Don’t be fooled, I haven’t been watching F1 for that long. I’d consider myself a very causal fan since 2007/8, but around 2010 is when I became obsessed.

      Another way to learn a lot more about the sport and who’s involved is to watch practice and qualifying. You gain a lot more insight into the teams and the drivers. A lot more technical discussion/explanation usually occurs during those broadcasts as well. SPEED’s coverage of F1 is good, if not overly cheesy, but I like their crew, especially Will Buxton their pit reporter. But you can also see the Sky/BBC broadcasts via torrent.

      Planet F1 is a good online resource as well as F1 Fanatic. I read both daily.

    3. Like the others have said, watch the races.

      Some resources I really enjoy (on top of the races) are:
      -Speed’s Formula 1 Decade, cancelled for a few years, but if you can find them, they’re worth a watch
      -Peter Windsor’s Blog and Podcast
      -James Allen on F1 (blog and podcast)
      -Midweek Motorsport from Radio LeMans (Podcast)
      -Gareth Jones on Speed (Podcast)
      -Motorsport Magazine’s Monthly Podcast

      I’m not on any F1 forums, so I don’t know about that.

  7. Earl, I can’t wait for Monaco either. That, Spa and Monza are my 3 favorite races of the year. I’d put the Japanese GP in a very, very close 4th.

    While I’m thinking of it, I’m glad Spain is going to be alternating venues for the Spanish GP. I think the race in Valencia is pointless and a complete bore. It certainly doesn’t deserve it’s own designated event.

  8. I say get rid of the Spanish Grand Prix as a whole, get back into tracks that are legitimately fun to watch and that people actually want to go to. I legitimately CAN NOT WAIT, for the return to Magny Cours next year.

    Although its unlikely that any of the properly great tracks will ever get F1 races because they won’t shell out millions in sanctioning fees, and that’s before millions more must be invested to make the track ‘FIA worthy’

    I wish Bernie would realize that Europe is his core market, while he tries to expand into Asia (Pacific and Middle East) because of their rapidly growing economies, the people their simply don’t care about it.

    This is what the schedule should look like (in my opinion, even weighing potential ticket sales) just the tracks not a date:

    -Magny Cours
    -Road America
    -Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
    -Estoril (Boom, I kept a race on the Iberian Peninsula)
    -Brno Circuit
    -Jerez (Boom, even a Spanish GP)
    -Circuit Zolder

    Only 17, but hey, at least all these circuits will provide racing that peoople want to watch.

    1. Interesting schedule mock up. While I agree that a majority of the season, should take place in Europe, I can see why F1 spends half the year in Asia.

      I’d probably do away with the Middle Eastern races. Those are for the FIA and FOM bank accounts, no doubt about it. I don’t think Bahrain should’ve happened this year and it should be taken off the calender all together. Abu Dhabi has the glamor, but it’s just another boring Tilke track with a stuffy fan presence.

      Japan is a MUST. It’s been a Formula 1 mainstay for decades and it’s usually one of the best races all year. Plus Suzuka Circuit is one of my all time favorite tracks. Way too much history to pull out of Japan. Korea on the other hand? Squash it. The track is awesomely bad, as are the spectators who were virtually a no show, except for the main event, 2 years in a row. The track is in the middle of nowhere, not even remotely close to Seoul or Incheon which makes it a horrendous trek. It’s not the kind of event or venue you’re going to be selling a new market on. The country doesn’t have a long history of motor racing and I think that date on the calendar would be better served somewhere else.

      Singapore is usually fun and China and Malaysia are toss ups. I personally think they should do Malaysia in the fall, when it’s not monsoon season, but that race has now kind of been known to be a wet race.

      Do away with all the racing done in Spain (that’ll actually happen when Alonso retires). Add as many races at Italian tracks as possible. They should just spend a month in Italy and have races at Monza, Imola and Mugello.

      1. That would work for me, I’d definitely stay out of China/Korea/India/Middle East, I’ve never enjoyed Singapore, but that may just be my dislike of street circuits, I only watch Monaco b/c its a legend.

        The month in Italy would be awesome. If they did it, I’d save up and fly out there for the whole month go to every race and get fat on pasta.

        I think that idea could be the solution to the EU debt crisis.

      2. I agree, Suzuka is a must! Malaysia is the only decent Tilke track but it does need to be in the fall, along with the rest of the Asian leg. For worrying about costs so much, F1 has it all wrong. For logistic reasons, I’d like to see Australia, then the continental races, then the Asian races, then the American races. If the Middle East had to stay, it would slot nicely between Australia and the European season. This would also mean teams would have to work extra hard in the middle of the season because it would mean less possibility of upgrades at the end of the season. For me personally, I’d like to see:

        Melbourne, Barcelona (it is a good benchmark, so I’d like to see it stay on, plus it’s one of the few places warm enough to race at in the spring), Monza, Monaco, Magny-Cours, Spa, Hockenheim (I personally like this track better than Nurburg), Turkey (I’d like to see this come back. the crowd was never there, but this and Malaysia are the only Tilke tracks worth driving), Silverstone, Kuala Lumpur, New Dehli (giving it a chance, the drivers seem to like it), Singapore, Suzuka, Montreal, NYC (I hope this street circuit delivers), Sao Paulo.

        The only other solution I can see is having a different championship system that allows all the meaningless tracks to be slotted in, and having the constructor’s championship with test drivers at those tracks. Then have the drivers union pick the tracks they’d most like to race at, that way the development is ongoing and doesn’t play as big of a factor in the driver’s title.

        Most of the classic circuits just don’t meet the ridiculous FIA certification requirements these days, such as Zandervoort and Imola. If they did have to upgrade the track to do so, I believe they would lose the charm that made them worth racing at in the first place.

  9. Well, Zandvoort has been re-done to meet FIA cert for other series, and it still looks quite good.

    I forgot about Suzuka in my original comment, that’s a track that deserves its place.

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