The FIA has today released the final schedule for the 2009 Formula 1 season. A provisional calendar was announced in June.
The big surprise was that the Canadian Grand Prix has been removed. GrandPrix.com suggests that Norman Legault, organiser and promoter of the CGP, has struggled to meet the $$$ demands made by the F1 Group. This doesn’t surprise me because a lot of F1 promoters are struggling at the moment, such as Germany.
There are also the recurring problems with the track surface at Circuit du Gilles Villeneuve. Year after year they struggle to produce a suitable racing surface and this year things finally came to a head when the track was almost declared ‘unraceable’, before some overnight repair work just about solved things – and there were still concerns throughout the race that perhaps the surface would not last.
I do have some sympathy with them as it must be a hell of a problem to try and beat the temperature fluctuations which are said to be huge, between very low in winter to very high in summer. It causes all kinds of havoc with the asphalt. But still.. you kind of expect that the event organisers would know about the local conditions by now?
On the whole, I think the F1 community was willing to put up with a crappy track surface because they need a North American round, although they might have started to push for an alternative venue if it had happened again. This is why my thoughts return to this being a problem securing the money.
I can’t say it has ever been my favourite venue partly for the annual track surface issues, partly because it seems to breed Safety Cars and carnage. Someone should spend a shed load of money developing Mont Tremblant, the sole Champ Car race there was excellent. I say ‘developing’ not ‘redeveloping’ on purpose! I’d like to see extra run off etc., rather than a complete reworking.
Turkey is moved into Canada’s slot in June, which frees a gap in August for the annual summer break which was largely missing this season. Italy and Belgium jump around a bit so that Valencia and Spa are back-to-back with Monza a fortnight later.
As previously announced, there will be a new event in Abu Dhabi, details of which are sorely lacking. It was supposed to be a race around a marina, part street track and partly on a purpose-built racetrack. That plan was canned a few months ago and I don’t believe their current plans have been announced, I would expect that to change when we get to November and the T minus 12 months marker.
Here is the 2009 calendar from the formula1.com announcement:
29 March – Australia
5 April – Malaysia
19 April – Bahrain
10 May – Spain
24 May – Monaco
7 June – Turkey
21 June – Great Britain
28 June – France
12 July – Germany
26 July – Hungary
23 August – Europe (Valencia)
30 August – Belgium
13 September – Italy
27 September – Singapore
11 October – Japan
18 October – China
1 November – Brazil
15 November – Abu Dhabi
(funny, you’d think the offical F1 site would be all over the event sponsors, oh well maybe they don’t want the publicity)