Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Mugello, 2012

Liberty want more races: Here’s 15 tracks they could add tomorrow

2017 F1 season

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While the Formula One world waits to discover how Liberty Media intends to shake up the sport, some of their priorities are already known.

Among them is increasing the length of the calendar beyond last year’s record 21 rounds. Ross Brawn recently suggested teams could cope with as many as 25 races.

What will Liberty’s strategy be for increasing the number of races? They could continue Bernie Ecclestone’s practice of selling races, squeezing them into an ever-more congested calendar, and repeating the process.

This has drawbacks. The trend has been for calendars to grow, but with year to year fluctuations. Teams are increasingly looking to introduce staff rotation systems to cope with the growing schedule, as in commonplace in NASCAR (which visits 36 venues per year, albeit all in the same country). But the cost of committing to such a programme and hiring staff would be wasted if the calendar were to shrink again.

Extending the calendar creates obvious opportunities. More races means greater revenue and added exposure for sponsors. But it also increases the teams’ costs. And the burden of visiting more venues, especially distant ones, is felt most strongly by the smaller teams who are already under great pressure.

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Could Liberty, therefore, consider fixing the number of races at the calendar at a certain level? This would have potentially beneficial effects. Teams would be able to scale their employee levels accordingly. Liberty would be able to use scarcity value to increase the price of new race contracts.

In order to do this Liberty would first need to get the calendar up to their chosen number of rounds. However there are 15 tracks around the world which already have the required FIA grade one licence permitting them to hold F1 races immediately.

Whether Liberty choose to go down that route or not, these venues are the easiest ‘quick wins’ if they decide to make extending the calendar a priority. And some of them would be great places to see F1 cars in action.

The 15 F1-licensed circuits without races

Gallery: The 15 F1-licensed circuits without races

Locations of all 37 F1-licensed circuits

The map below shows all the tracks which appeared on last year’s F1 calendar plus all those which held an FIA grade one licence as per the most recent published details (September 2016). Circuits marked in blue have contracts to hold future races, those in green have no contracts.

Over to you

Which F1-ready circuits which aren’t on the calendar should Liberty add to the schedule? And which venues which don’t have tracks should they prioritise?

Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 127 comments on “Liberty want more races: Here’s 15 tracks they could add tomorrow”

    1. I’d love to see Turkey back. An amazing track with many memorable races (remember the clash between Webber and Vettel?). Also I quite liked the track in India.

      1. Agree. The Istanbul GP was a brilliant circuit even though it did not always produce the most exciting races. I always remember Massa being king at that circuit.. and who can forget the Red Bull clash in 2010. Overall, I thought Istanbul was a unique place to have a formula 1 race, and it definitely added value to the formula 1 calendar.

        Another circuit I’m hoping for a return is Magny Cours. A great high speed circuit which could produce some great races. I’d support Indian GP making a return as well.

        1. Maybe the best new era track!!!

    2. I seriously want India back !! That was a decent track, if not good. The drivers themselves admitted it. I think it still has a lot of potential, shame that it was gone.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        6th February 2017, 19:35

        Yes it had a great flow to it.

    3. 25 races a year? No thanks, it’s expensive enough already to watch without extending the season. 20 should be the limit.

      1. I’m pretty sure they’re working on fixing the cost for users as well.

      2. I guess they should return Istanbul, Buddh, Korean circuit, Imola, add Mugello. Ideally, they should get back to the long Nordscheife layout at the Nurburgring, plus old layout at Buenos-Aires, Fuji, and Interlagos. It would be exciting if they tried it out at MOunt-Panarama or Philip-Island. Some races and tracks could be alternated (Singapore/India or Korea/India, Austin/Watkins-Glen).

    4. A few years ago I would selfishly have said Dubai Autodrome should join the calendar as I lived in Motor City. Thinking more sensibly I’d have to say I’d love Mugello or Imola to host races in the future…

    5. Portmao is not eligible?

      1. The Algarve circuit in Portimao has a grade two licence at the moment. It’s had a grade 1T (F1 testing) licence in the past, however, so it may be able to reach grade one without too much difficulty.

        1. I don´t think it will happen but Portimão is really a great track, a roller coster (there´s a part of it where bikes jump actually which is absolutely fantastic to watch), but and following this good feeling for this kind of track my favourites are:

          – Mugelllo, old fashion, fast and twisty
          – Donington – great for bikes a bit narrow for cars maybe but waht a layout!
          – Istanbul (those 3 consecutive corners flat out with 2017 cars would be a challenge)
          – Nurburgring – great races in the past

          1. Also a grade 2 is the Kymiring in Finland but I would love a see a Finish GP on the F1 calander.

            It’s currently being constructed and Moto GP will go there from 2018.

            1. @jeffreyj Hard to imagine a better name, unless Bottas has a really good year at Mercedes….

            2. It seems, from the things I read, that Liberty is most interested
              in quite a lot more F1 in North America. There’s been talk of
              California, New York ( again ! ) and several mid-western sites I’ve
              never heard of. They do have a point, of course.

              Lots of income to exploit if they could get it right. But your display
              of lost race circuits is very telling, Keith. We desperately need some
              of them back in full F1 mode.

            3. Also a grade 2 is the Kymiring in Finland but I would love a see a Finish GP on the F1 calander.

              Actually, the owners of KymiRing have decided to go for Grade 1

              So, welcome all’yall to Finnish GP 2020 !

            4. Kymiring is actually the name of the circuit?


    6. Now it is a great opportunity for F1 to get back to Africa again, especially in South Africa. Liberty and FIA should consider and work on it.

      1. @furious-black-panther Kyalami is also grade two.

        1. Well, it’s the highest certification in Africa, so we’ve got that going for us. If only we weren’t so far from Europe, they could have used Kayalami for pre-season testing. We have lovely warm weather in February.
          A couple years back wild rumors circulated about a potential street race in Cape Town, running through Sea Point and Green Point Stadium. Just imagine Table Mountain as a backdrop to an F1 race.

          1. It’s closer than Australia!

    7. Not excited by any of those suggestions except Imola (great track, and huge history), Istanbul (another great track) and maybe Mugello. Nurburgring should definetly make a comeback, a permanent comeback if possible. It’s better than Hockenheim in my opinion, but if we could have both, great.

    8. would be nice to have Estoril back

      1. @barkun unfortunately Estoril doesn’t even make the FIA list

    9. I went to the last race at Indy, and although it was hot as hell there when it was held in June 2007, it was a good venue. Wouldn’t mind seeing that one back on the calendar, or Motorland Aragon, which is a really cool circuit with elevation change.

    10. Would like to see Istanbul and Imola make a comeback, of course after some refurbishments. I also love Mugello but I doubt they’d have 2 Italian GP’s

      1. @hugh11 I’d far rather see F1 at Mugello than Imola. It makes more sense geographically given Imola’s proximity to Monza, and the cars would be much more spectacular at Mugello.

    11. I know this is never gonna happen but I really wish F1 could race in Bathurst. The mountain section is just fantastic and I can only dream of F1 cars tackling it.

      1. LovelyLovelyLuffield
        6th February 2017, 14:13

        I’d love to, as well, but from how I fared in Real Racing 3, an F1 race at Mount Panorama would not end well for half the field.

      2. @paulk Indeed, awesome but unrealistic: Bathurst is grade three. It’s demo runs only for Bathurst as far as F1 is concerned:

        Button does first lap of Bathurst in an F1 car

      3. Jenson Button took one of the Mclarens around Bathurst and you can clearly see the circuit just isn’t wide enough for F1, possibly even narrower in places than Monaco. He also said that the circuit was tricky and required a higher level of practice than other circuits…

        Awesome lap of it on YouTube…

        1. Not exactly pushing it.

      4. Not really possible in the wet for an F1 car to get around Mt Panorama. The road also has a high centre (camber) in places. The biggest problem with it as far as modern F1 goes is the run-offs are not 3 km wide. I couldn’t imagine anything but safety car intervals really.

    12. Fuji would be awesome!

    13. Phillip Island!!! Fast, sweeping, an Aussie version, albeit shorter, of the old Osterrichring. Make it happen!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Another grade three I’m afraid. Wicked track though.

    14. Nurburgring. Maybe now Bernie has gone it stands a chance. Should never have left the calendar.

    15. There are no circuits in Africa which is a shame.

      How about Kylami? The new circuit is great. Not far off F1 standard.

    16. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      6th February 2017, 13:17

      Istanbul Park pains me. In terms of overtaking, it was one of the greatest layouts we have ever seen. The backstraight was long enough to generate passing even before DRS came along, but it was never a guaranteed overtake due to the switchback final corners. And of course, as a dynamic portrait of an F1 car, Turn 8 was phenomenal. If only it could be picked up and put in a field in California…

      …but if a return of any of these venues would make sense, it would be making the Nurburgring the permanent home of the German Grand Prix. Its not only a great track, it’s better connected to the Spa fanbase and a better option for traveling Dutch and British fans than Hockenheim. It’s a historic venue with excellent fan infrastructure, but needs support in order to host a Grand Prix. It’s not going to happen, but I don’t think it would just be an act of charity; the fans would come.

      1. LovelyLovelyLuffield
        6th February 2017, 14:15

        1st point is true. I so do love Istanbul Park’s layout, but it needs a different country.

        1. Why ? You don’t like kebap ? Come be my guest, I order you one portion beyti and that’ll change your mind ;)

          1. Failed coup, frequent terrorist attacks… Unfortunately the political unrest in the country is just too big for comfort at the moment. Maybe in a few years when things calm down again. It’s a shame though, it’s a great track.

      2. I think a return to the Nurburgring is a lot more realistic now with Liberty in charge. I’m sure Carey mentioned it in an interview about keeping European races recently. It’s more realistic than the other options on here I feel at present, although I would love Turkey back on the calendar.

    17. Thailand was set to host a GP? Never heard of that before. A real GP, as in, an F1 race?

      1. There was going to be a street race in Bangkok, announced a few years ago. The circuit layout was even put out there, it was going to be in the area near the Grand Palace. I’m sure Red Bull would be mad keen, they are indeed 51% Thai-owned.

        1. I’ve just read the article and it already says that, silly me!

        1. @keithcollantine @unicron2002
          I did NOT know that. The coup d’etat happened just a bit over a year before the planned date, so there must’ve been much more to it than just talk, but I can’t remember having heard anything about it, ever.

    18. Oh please, replace the dreadful Abu Dhabi venue with the more decent Dubai track! If we need to go to the Persian Gulf for whatever reason, at least use a good track!

      1. Am I missing something because if Bahrain has a veto, why is Abu Dhabi on the calendar in the first place?

        1. @tomd11 As I recall they waived it for Yas Marina.

          1. Well, I think I speak for the majority of the F1 community when I say thanks for that, guys.

            1. @tomd11
              Does this mean you’re grateful for Bahrain not vetoing a race in Abu Dhabi, i.e. you think having the race in Abu Dhabi is a good thing?
              In that case, I do not think you speak for the majority of fans. Quite the opposite, really.

          2. I suppose some money exchanged hands. They greased the wheels as it were. With oil.

    19. Also Algarve looks fantastic. I would love to see F1 races there.

    20. And by the way, why isn’t Paul Ricard in this list? Is it because it is (likely) making a return next year?

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        6th February 2017, 13:38

        It’s already a done deal isn’t it for 2018?

      2. @dan_the_mclaren_fan Yeah it’s not in the first part (circuits without races) because as you say it’s got a race for 2018, but it is on the second map.

        I’m also not going to pass up an opportunity to grumble about them using the chicane on the Mistral in 2018: Grumble grumble.

        1. @keithcollantine, to be honest, I don’t see what is that appealing about the prospect of watching the cars spend a third of the lap going in a straight line (otherwise, you’d be singing the praises of the Baku City circuit for having an even longer main straight).

      3. Yeah, @dan_the_mclaren_fan, Paul Ricard is not on because it was already confirmed to have a deal starting 2018, so it would not be something new anymore.

        A welcome addition to the calendar non the less!

    21. What about Kyalami in South Africa ?

    22. It would be great to have Algarve on the F1 calendar! I think it is a stunning circuit!

      1. @gordess

        it is grade 2 at the moment. They had a grade 1 for testing. I assume this comes at a price and decided that it wasn’t worth it.

        The grade 2 certification is valid until 2018, not sure what they are going to do after, maybe new owners Liberty can give us some good news and they start the upgrades to have a grade 1 circuit ;)

        1. Yeah, I know the track only has grade 2+T1 but wouldn’t it be something, to have F1 back in Portugal!

          1. That would be a dream come true @gordess

            Even more so because I couldn’t experience it at Estoril

        2. @johnmilk, Yeah I know the track only has grade 2+T1 but wouldn’t it be something, to have F1 back in Portugal!

      2. hahostolze (@hahostolze)