2013 F1 Schedule Switches Valencia for New York

The 2013 F1 Series schedule was announced at the FIA World Motorsport Council last Friday. It features mostly minor tweaks to the pattern we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the last five years or so.

I’ll take the same format as yesterday’s IndyCar post, albeit it’ll be a little shorter as there are fewer changes.

Good

20 races. This is arguably too many and I’m sure the teams think it is. These days I’ve taken the view that if I miss some it isn’t the end of the world, and I can watch them later at at time of my choosing. When there were fewer races they were all unmissable. Now you have to pick and choose to protect some semblance of life. I do think 20 is the most any major series needs, anything from 17-20 is ideal for me.

Valencia gone. I know Valencia is a fantastic place to visit, I’ve not been but I know people who have and the place even looks great on TV (away from the back half of the track). The problem is the races are horribly bad. This year was an exception. There are no guarantees they’d all be good from now. Add to that the cost of attending the GP there, you’re better off going a week earlier or later when it is much cheaper. Valencia is a place to go as a tourist and lounge on the beach, not to see a race. It’s possible Valencia may alternate seasons with Barcelona.

New Jersey in. As expected. This may be marked a TBC and we may have seen reports of contract difficulties, but the latter came from Bernie’s pet leak so I don’t give it much creedence. I think he’s trying to test how serious they are. Ask yourself, after 25 years of trying to get a race opposite the New York skyline why would he jeapordise the best chance he’ll ever have? No this race will happen. Whether it’ll be a good race is an unknown. It’ll look fantastic. This is also good because it creates a fourth race in the Americas after Sao Paulo, Montreal and Austin. It’s about time F1 headed West again.

The Cool Factor. Remove the track or place names and list the nearest cities instead. Suddenly, you have one of the coolest schedules in all of sport let alone all of racing:  Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Barcelona, Monaco, Montreal, New York, Budapest, Milan, Singapore, New Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Austin, Sao Paulo. Sprinkle in some classic racing names: Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Nurburgring. From a PR standpoint that’s unbeatable and F1 should be doing a LOT more than it is to promote the fact.

Continuity. Multiple returning races in pretty much the same slots they’ve occupied for many years.

Australia still first. Albert Park in Melbourne is the perfect season-opener.

Brazil still last. What a great track to end the season with, such fun especially if the title fight makes it to the last round. Even if it doesn’t, great venue. Bit dangerous in terms of crime but they’ve put up with it for 20 years so another won’t hurt.

Belgium is still there. Everyone loves the race at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s always in danger of being cancelled so it is good to see it still running on.

Bad

Some poor race venues are still there. Whatever the positive commercial implications of racing in India, Korea, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, even Barcelona, the races there have been dire. I have nothing against visiting these countries I just wish they’d come up with better tracks! Some are also quite empty of fans. Not to mention the political dimension with Bahrain although that has been improving. Many dislike Singapore but I quite like it, it’s unique, and in any case they’re talking seriously about making upgrades to their track.

Back-to-backs. There are a lot of back-to-back consecutive races just a week apart, just like this year. The killer for the teams and mechanics will be the run from September to November – just like this season there’s a stretch of races bunched close together. Great for momentum for fans not losing interest, not so great for the teams flying around the world. At least with European back-to-backs they don’t have jet-lag! I suppose this is all the price of having the long summer break which is essential.

2 weeks between Spa and Monza. Happy they are both on but I’ll be slightly hypocritcal and complain they aren’t on back-to-back weeks. Only because there was a chance of doing a road trip from one to the other and now it can’t happen! Plus I really liked these classics scheduled up next to each other.

Slightly late end. Okay a crazy complaint from someone who loves racing, but March to late November is a pretty long season to follow especially including the ‘Winter Grand Prix’ of pre-season testing. An old off-season was too long though, so could we strike a balance and end in early November?

New Jersey. Despite questionable sources we can usually ignore there are still those niggling doubts that it may get cancelled.

Summary

This calendar like most recent F1 seasons is a small evolutionary change. That’s a good thing, wholesale changes cause instability.

Other notable points include the moving of Silverstone from early July to the last weekend in June. I’m not sure why this was done, effectively it has meant the British GP and the Goodwood Festival of Speed have traded weekends. Perhaps that is a good thing, perhaps it isn’t relevant.

2013 Formula 1 World Championship Schedule

17 March – Melbourne, Australia
24 March – Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
14 April – Shanghai, China
21 April – Sakhir, Bahrain
12 May – Barcelona, Spain
26 May – Monaco
9 June – Montreal, Canada
16 June – West New York, New Jersey, USA
30 June – Silverstone, UK
14 July – Nurburgring, Germany
28 July – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary
25 August – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
8 September – Monza, Milan, Italy
22 September – Marina Bay, Singapore
6 October – Yeongam, South Korea
13 October – Suzuka, Japan
27 October – New Delhi, India
3 November – Abu Dhabi, UAE
17 November – Austin, Texas, USA
24 November – Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’ve added these dates to my TMR Google/iCal calendars which you can import for your own use. If you subscribed earlier in the year these should be visible to you already.

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2013 IndyCar Schedule Shows Progress

The 2013 IndyCar Series schedule was announced on Sunday night. The 2012 schedule took the 2011 list and revised the basic structure, the 2013 calendar shows definite progress in building a defined schedule for the medium-term.

As ever there are pros and cons to any race calendar, they are always a balancing act between what the fans want, what the teams and sponsors want, what the series itself wants, and what is actually available.

Most of the IndyCar bloggers have come out with a very similar format to analyse this and I’m not going to stray far from it. I’ve seen at least four splitting it down into ‘Good’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Ugly’. I find that unnecessarily pessimistic as you’ve got two negatives to one positive. I prefer to look at the Good and the Bad then have a little summary.

Good

16 solid venues in 2013. Compared with 2012’s 15 solid, 1 vapourware (China) and 1 cancellation (Las Vegas). Good to get firm confirmation rather than have question marks all year. That happened all the time at the end of the CART/ChampCar era and I hope Bernard has learned. And at these 16 venues we get 19 races.

Doubleheaders. 19 races at 16 venues is achieved by having 3 doubleheaders. I’ll come back to this as there’s not a lot I like, except it is a new idea and that shows IndyCar leadership is willing to try new things. I can’t mark them down for trying even if I don’t like what they try. Shows initiative. I like using these races to trial standing starts. One race with standing starts, one race with rolling. Just like WTCC!

Early announce. The schedule has been announced at the beginning of October. That’s a miracle by IndyCar standards! Teams can now plan ahead effectively and more easily pitch to sponsors.

Continuity. Breeding familiarity in the race order is a sign of a maturing schedule, it is good to see after the gutting of 2012. There are big changes but the backbone is the same.

Pocono! The return of the big triangle. Mixed feelings. I’ve not seen much racing there and I hear frequent complains about NASCAR’s 500-mile events being boring, however everybody who saw them absolutely raves about the old USAC and CART open wheel races there in the 1970s and 80s. We’ve got a 400-mile race there and calls for it to be extended to 500 so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. As a flat oval it is traditional IndyCar territory so I’m cautiously excited.

Triple Crown! The Pocono races of old were a part of a Triple Crown: if a driver won all 3 races he’d win a million dollars! Okay so it is a little crass but that is American razzmatazz. The Triple Crown is back! It’ll be take in the Indy 500, Pocono 400 and Fontana 500. Win two to win $250k, win all three to get $1m. It adds an extra layer of storyline to the mix and keeps things interesting so I’m all for it. Okay if it were a top team in the running it won’t be as interesting but imagine a lesser-funded team or driver has won Indy – you can think somebody like Ed Carpenter has his eye on this prize.

Houston! Another new race is always fun, or should I say a returning race (hey we’re unified, it counts). It’s a big city so should be quite popular. I don’t know what the racing was like in the Champ Car era as it fell into the gap of years I missed, so I’m being cautious on this one.

Iowa isn’t a night race any more. I know it looked ultra-cool at night but night races in the US start at 2am here. I’m purely selfish in preferring a race starting at 6 or 7pm UK time on Sunday. Of course this happens to be Le Mans weekend so I might’ve been up after all, but at least it moves it until after the 24hrs.

Fontana is a 500-miler again and is the season-closer again, despite being a month later. Great idea. This year’s race was utterly compelling and was a true championship decider. This series tends to decide champions at the last race. The alternative was to end at Houston, I’m okay with street races but I don’t like ending the season on them, too much of a lottery even against a superspeedway. This isn’t a street vs oval point, it is a point about a big notable race to sign off for winter. Make a statement.

US TV coverage. The first ABC race is at Indy then they take 5 of the next 6 races. Excellent idea. Grab the audience with the big race then keep hold of them for a few weeks to bump up viewership. I really do like this idea. No offence to an NBCSN crew who do a brilliant job, but their ratings stink at the moment. Plus ABC have the Texas Saturday night race which is a Big Deal ratings-wise, if that doesn’t work little will. This is an incremental improvement rather than wholesale change and it seems the most sensible thing to do with the allocations available.

Canadians get a better deal too, after years and years of complaining. They listened! Embrace it.
(We may have to wait a little while before finding out the UK deal.)

Bad

No oval race before Indy. I know they have a ton of practice at Indy, it isn’t the same as racing. Teams, drivers and most importantly the fans need to see cars on an oval before the big one. I am torn though, a part of me thinks the unknowns created drama at Indy and no race does level the playing field for Indy-only teams.

Deadwood. Some of the more tedious races are still there. I’m thinking specifically of Belle Isle and Sonoma. The DW12 transformed the racing at most tracks this year brilliantly, but not at these two.

Belle Isle directly after Indy. Not only that, it has one of the double-headers. Buzzkiller. It only seems to be a favourite among attendees – more than one person told me it was great in person. Yet I haven’t seen a good IndyCar or CART race there in any iteration. Is there something wrong with the TV presentation? Maybe that can be looked at along with track layout.
Indy should always be followed directly by Milwaukee anyway, that’s the proper tradition.

Double-headers. Okay here’s the thing. Double-headers work really well for touring cars, they work really well for ladder open wheel series, they work really well on short oval tracks. The reason they work is because the races are shorter. Two IndyCar-length races in two days is going to be tough on everyone involved in the series. It may be tough on the casual fans too who will probably just watch one of them, they may even think there is only one race that weekend. The hard-cores will probably lap it up, especially Toronto and Houston.

Race split. One of the quirks of IndyCar not seen anywhere else is the split between ovals, road courses and street races. It’s a Big Deal among fans. This year including doubles we have 6 ovals, 3 roads (ouch) and 10 street races. I’m more okay with streets than most IndyCar commenters I see, but half the schedule is crazy! I’m a fan of natural road courses and ovals with the odd street race. More of the former two in 2014, please. We all know the ‘most wanted’ list so I won’t repeat it here.

Edmonton. I’m not crying about this loss as I never liked it, even the new layout, but it is a town with a strong supportive fanbase so it gets a minus mark.

Gaps. There are notable gaps in July, August and especially September. I can easily accept a summer break in August especially after that exceptionally punishing May-June-July stint, and that really is tough with two 500 mile races and two double-header street courses. Unlike most American bloggers I am not suggesting all gaps be filled – that would be crazy and you’d have a mutiny on your hands. The crew guys need a rest and they want to see their families in the school break. Give that to them. Not only that, nobody can watch IndyCar every single week for two or three months! I actually want to make use of summer to have a life if that’s okay with you!
September is less understandable, there’s only one race in the whole month. It is clear something was supposed to go there but fell through. There’s still scope for a little bit of shuffling about.

Summary

On the whole it is a good schedule balancing recent tracks with two returning venues. A lot of tracks which produced awful races with the previous IndyCar came alive with the DW12 chassis, so there’s less of a desire to strike off the Mid-Ohios and Barbers of the world.

Double-headers are an interesting experiment and despite Randy Bernard’s protestations I think they’ll remain an experiment – if we see them at all in 2014 I bet it’ll only be at one event.

Too many street races though. I know that’s where the money is and modern fans seem to prefer things to come to them, but if we’re having them I’d like a review of their designs and some proper resurfacing done.

2013 IndyCar Series Schedule

24 March  – St Petersburg (S)
7 April – Barber Motorsports Park (R)
21 April – Long Beach (S)
5 May – Sao Paulo (S)
26 May – Indianapolis Motor Speedway (O)
1 June – Belle Isle, Detroit (S)
2 June – Belle Isle, Detroit (S)
8 June – Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth (O) (night)
15 June – Milwaukee Mile (O)
23 June – Iowa Speedway (O)
7 July – Pocono Raceway (O)
13 July – Exhibition Place, Toronto (S)
14 July – Exhibition Place, Toronto (S)
4 August – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (R)
25 August – Sonoma (R)
1 September – Baltimore (S)
5 October – Reliant Park, Houston (S)
6 October – Reliant Park, Houston (S)
19 October – Auto Club Speedway, Fontana (O) (night)

I’ve added these dates to my TMR Google/iCal calendars which you can import for your own use. If you subscribed earlier in the year these should be visible to you already.

2012 Race Schedules

For the last two seasons I’ve created race schedules for use in Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and any other compatible diary system. 2012 is no exception and I can now announce the calendars for the year ahead are now, mostly, complete!

IWTMR Motorsport Calendar for May 2012 (click for Large)

If you want to track some of your favourite series and events, just load your selection of racing categories into your calendar so that you can make plans to watch live or set the DVR – and hopefully never miss another race!

Please go to the Calendar page for futher details and updates.

Start Times: 6-8 May 2011

A guide to this week’s racing.

All start times are UK (GMT+1 / British Summer Time) and are taken from official series websites or if necessary, educated guesses from elsewhere. Live TV or web coverage is not guaranteed. I include only races and a few notable qualifying sessions of larger series, and not practice sessions or warm-ups or rally stage times.

Friday

WRC – Sardinia Day 1

2.30pm – ILMC & LMS – Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying

12.30am – NASCAR Nationwide– Darlington Race

Saturday

WRC – Sardinia Day 2

Midday – Formula 1 – Istanbul Qualifying

1pm – ILMC & LMS – Spa-Francorchamps Race

1.40pm – GP2 – Istanbul Race 1

3.20pm – GP3 – Istanbul Race 1

5.15pm – World GT1 – Portimao Qualifying Race

12.30am – NASCAR Cup – Darlington Race

Sunday

WRCSardinia Day 3

8.25am – GP3 – Istanbul Race 2

9.30am – Superstars GT Sprint – Valencia Race 1

9.35am – GP2 – Istanbul Race 2

10.20am – Superstars International Series – Valencia Race 1

11am – World SuperbikeMonza Race 1

1pm – Formula 1 – Istanbul Race

2.30pm – World Superbike – Monza Race 2

3.15pm – World GT1 – Portimao Championship Race

3.40pm – Superstars International SeriesValencia Race 2

4.45pm – Superstars GT Sprint – Valencia Race 2



Also racing, no start times found as yet:

FIA GT3 European Championship

Enjoy the weekend!

Start Times: 30 April – 1 May 2011

A guide to this week’s racing.

All start times are UK (GMT+1 / British Summer Time) and are taken from official series websites or if necessary, educated guesses from elsewhere. Live TV or web coverage is not guaranteed. I include only races and a few notable qualifying sessions of larger series, and not practice sessions or warm-ups or rally stage times.

Saturday

12.30am – NASCAR Nationwide – Richmond

5.30am – V8 Supercar – Barbagallo Race 1

ALL DAY – Donington Park – Donington Historic Festival

10am – F3 Int’l Trophy – Hockenheim Race 1

1.30pm – FR3.5 – Spa-Franchorchamps Race 1

2pm – MotoGP – Estoril qualifying

2pm – International GT Open – Imola Race 1

5pm – F3 Int’l Trophy – Hockenheim Race 2

7pm – IndyCar – Sao Paulo qualifying

Sunday

12.30am – NASCAR Cup – Richmond

4.30am – V8 Supercar – Barbagallo Race 2

ALL DAY – Donington Park – Donington Historic Festival

10am – F3 Int’l Trophy – Hockenheim Race 3

11.15am – Moto2 – Estoril

11.30am – BTCC – Thruxton Race 1

11.50am – International GT Open – Imola Race 2

Midday – FR3.5 – Spa-Francorchamps Race 2

1pm – MotoGP – Estoril

1pm – DTM – Hockenheim

2pm – BTCC – Thruxton Race 2

2.30pm – 125cc – Estoril

5pm – IndyCar – Sao Paulo

5pm – BTCC – Thruxton Race 3

Monday

1pm – BSB – Oulton Park Race 1

4.05pm – BSB – Oulton Park Race 2

Enjoy the weekend!

Start Times: 16-17 April 2011

A Guide To This Week’s Racing

I used to do versions of this quite a while ago. Now I shall do it again.

All times are UK / GMT+1 / British Summer Time and are based on official series websites, or educated guesses from elsewhere. Live TV or web coverage is not guaranteed. I include only races, as well as a few notable qualifying sessions of larger series, and not practice sessions or warm-ups or rally stage times.

Saturday

5am – V8 Supercar – Hamilton Race 1

7am – F1 – Shanghai Qualifying

1pm – FR3.5 – Aragon Race 1

2pm – F2 – Silverstone Race 1

3.40pm – British F3 – Monza Race 1

7pm – Nationwide – Talladega

10.30pm – IndyCar – Long Beach Qualifying

12.30am – ALMS – Long Beach

Sunday

4am – V8 Supercar – Hamilton Race 2

8am – F1 – Shanghai

8am – British F3 – Monza Race 2

9am – London Marathon – Women’s Elite Race

9.45am – London Marathon – Men’s Elite Race, Wheelchair Elite Race, Mass Start

11am – WSBK – Assen Race 1

11.15am – British F3 – Monza Race 3

11.30am – BTCC – Donington Park Race 1

1pm – FR3.5 – Aragon Race 2

1pm – Blancpain Endurance – Monza

2.30pm – F2 – Silverstone Race 2

2.30pm – WSBK – Assen Race 2

2.30pm – BTCC – Donington Park Race 2

5pm – NSC – Talladega

5pm – BTCC – Donington Park Race 3

6.30pm – Indy Lights – Long Beach

9.30pm – IndyCar – Long Beach

Rallies running for most of the day:

WRC – Rally Jordan

With thanks to @RaceElectric for the Blancpain start time.

2011 Motorsport Calendar

For the second year running, I have created motorsport calendars for a variety of race series for use with Google Calendar and iCal. They ought to work with other things too such as Outlook but your mileage may vary – give it a go and see what happens!

I created the dedicated Calendar page a few weeks ago but never got around to plugging it in the main blog. This was by design, I was waiting for official start times from racing bodies. There still aren’t many around, but with the Formula 1 times released in the last few days and others gradually emerging, and with the racing season now truly upon us, it is time to plug it properly!

What Are They?

If you want an online calendar you can use to easily look up which races are happening on a given weekend, here is your answer. You can pick and choose which series you want to add, so you can choose F1, IndyCar, MotoGP and ILMC if you like, while ignoring NASCAR and BTCC.

Each series is listed independently, and the different ‘Le Mans’ series are independent of one another as well, so you can colour-code them if you choose (this does mean some ILMC duplication).

This is what they look like when used with Google Calendar:

IWTMR Motorsport Calendar for March 2011 shown in Google Calendar. Disclaimer: Only a handful events have published start times as of 6-Feb, those without are shown as 'all-day events' until start times are released.

How Do I Use Them?

To choose your series simply go to the list on this page and add them at will. Unfortunately WordPress and Google don’t seem to be friends so I can’t embed them.

Notes

– Events with start times are listed in colour text. Events with no start times (or those spanning more than a day like Le Mans) are listed in colour blocks. I hope to add start times as they become available, this might not be until a week before the event.

– Practice sessions are NOT included. If you viewed more than a handful of championships the races and qualifying sessions got lost among hundreds of practice sessions, so I deleted them. Let’s focus on the interesting and important things.

– For more notes please read here.

I really hope you like these and find them useful throughout 2011!