F1 Calendar News: October 2019 Round-Up

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Formula 1’s new Miami plans hit an early setback and the weekend format looks set to change in 2021. Here’s a round up of all the Formula 1 calendar news from October 2019!

A new plan for Miami

In mid-October, F1 announced that an agreement in principle had been reached to hold the first ever Miami Grand Prix in 2021. The proposed track races around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. Liberty Media has been planning a race in the area for some time, with various other plans having been blocked by local authorities.

The latest plan is also under attack from locals, with a statement on the F1 Miami website reading: “Unfortunately, a neighborhood group is trying to block the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.” Six County Commissioners voted against the race taking place, meaning that the proposed event once again looks in doubt.

Elsewhere, the CEO of Circuit of Americas, Bobby Epstein, has commented on the potential detrimental effect of the Miami race on the existing Texas race.

Weekend changes for 2021

There has been plenty of speculation over the past month about how the future weekend format for Formula 1 will look. As a result of Typhoon Hagibis, qualifying was moved to Sunday morning at the Japanese Grand Prix – but Ross Brawn says that is not an avenue which F1 is exploring for the future.

Instead, a move to a three-day weekend, condensing the usual media day into Friday morning, was confirmed by Formula 1 at the end of the month with the reveal of the 2021 regulations. Included are a condensed Thursday and Friday, with the rest of the weekend remaining unchanged. In addition to this, the maximum number of race weekends per year will increase to 25 – leaving space for a potential three new races from 2021 onwards.

Dutch Grand Prix “on schedule”

The return of the Dutch Grand Prix is now just six months away, but there are still a number of issues facing the event before it can take place. Among them are environmental protests and nitrogen emissions checks, which could delay construction work at the Zandvoort circuit. The issues are explored at length on Motorsport.com. Race spokesman Jan Lammers has said that preparations are “on schedule”. Meanwhile, Hermann Tilke has suggested that Assen would have been a better fit for the Dutch Grand Prix than Zandvoort.

A future host for the Russian Grand Prix?

The 2020 DTM calendar had a surprise late addition, with the Igora Drive circuit in Russia being added to the schedule. The track currently has FIA Grade 2 status, one grade below the required Grade 1 to host a Formula 1 event. With the Russian Grand Prix expected to move away from Sochi Autodrom after next year’s race, Igora Drive could establish itself as a replacement venue.

At the start of the month, the venue, located near St Petersburg denied speculation about it hosting the Russian Grand Prix in the future, saying that no negotiations had been held with Formula 1. RaceFans ran an in-depth feature on how the circuit may become a new addition to the F1 schedule.

Other news in brief:

  • Tickets for the 2020 Azerbaijan Grand Prix went on sale this month. Read more about buying tickets for the Baku event here. There are a number of other events which offer early bird tickets for 2020 – full details here.
  • MotoGP will race at the new Rio Motorpark circuit in 2022. Could this be a potential future venue for Formula 1 in Brazil when its Interlagos contract comes to an end next year?
  • Both the Mexico and United States Grands Prix had sell-out attendances in 2019. The Mexico race saw its largest crowd since the event returned to the calendar, with 345,694 fans attending over the race weekend.
  • Formula 1 will celebrate the life of Ayrton Senna in a special Sao Paulo fan festival ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
  • A new deal was announced in October which will see the Porsche Supercup remain a part of the Formula 1 support race package until at least 2022.
  • VinFast will be the title sponsor of the first Vietnam Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in April 2020.

Do you think the Miami Grand Prix will join the calendar in 2021? Is a shorter race weekend a good idea? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

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