Next year we will see a lot of changes and innovations in Formula 1. One of the most interesting and important things is the updated version of the championship calendar. New locations, new dates, new races.
Back to June
The last two years the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan was held at the end of April. However, this year it has started talking about the returning of the race in June, as it was in 2016, when this stage was called the European Grand Prix, and 2017.
The main reason of returning to June, Baku City circuit management calls the summer season, when the largest number of tourists come to Baku. At the end of April the weather in Azerbaijan is still cool, and one of the key points for tourists - the sea - isn’t available. Therefore, in terms of profit and the largest number of spectators at the stands, June is an ideal month for Baku.
However, these conversations and arguments remain as rumors. According to Head of Marketing and Communications at Baku City circuit Nika Arpadarai, they still negotiate with FOM, but 95% of the Azerbaijani Grand Prix 2020 will be held in June.
In addition to the tourist season, there is another, in fact, a better reason for the returning of Baku race in June. It is the debut of Vietnam Grand Prix. It seems that FIA and Liberty want to start the season with “exotic” places: Australia, Bahrain, China and Vietnam, something like the East-Asian part of the championship.
At the moment, it’s known that Liberty Media and promoter of Vietnam GP Vingroup signed a multi-year contract. Vietnam will be the fourth F1 city circuit on a par with Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan.
If for someone it’s the first race, for other it can be the last. And already this year.
Barcelona. The Spanish Grand Prix has been held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991. But unfortunately, most likely the Spanish race this year will be the last in F1 championship. One of the main reasons is finances. Previously, spectators and fans filled the stands to watch the race of his national hero Fernando Alonso. However, now when he left the championship, the audience's interest has decreased.
Moreover, Formula 1 already has a good alternative for the Spanish Grand Prix – the Dutch Grand Prix, which may debut next year. Dutch fans of Max Verstappen follow their idol around the world, so there is no doubt that the home race will be a complete sold out.
Road to Rio
The latest news came just a few hours ago. The President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro said that the Bazilian Grand Prix 2020 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, after the city will build a new track. According to Bolsonaro, the new circuit can be prepared in 6-7 months from scratch. However, it’s worth noting, the current contract of Liberty Media and Interlagos expires in 2020.
Next year, Formula 1 and its fans will face big changes. It is obvious that Liberty is trying to do everything to increase the audience of Formula 1 and spread the culture of Motorsport where it wasn’t originally. New locations, new experiences, new fans - sounds good, but now Liberty has another challenge, to keep tracks with F1 DNA in the championship.
Fortunately, Formula 1 managed to agree with the promoters of the Italian Grand Prix on a new contract, which is valid until 2024. The agreement hasn’t yet been signed, the parties solve commercial and technical issues, but the main thing is that Monza and the Italian Grand Prix are safe. That can’t be saying about Silverstone.
The oldest Formula 1 Grand Prix, which has been held annually since 1987, may be the last one this year. About two weeks ago, some media recklessly wrote that Formula 1 extended the contract with the circuit until 2022, but representatives of Silverstone denied this information. The parties continue to negotiate, and perhaps the agreement already exists, but promoters of the British Grand Prix just don’t want to rush things.