Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: A Fan’s Season

hippo3#DeflateGate was not the only major discussion that happened at Monza, as the track itself has come under threat of being dropped from the calendar, because the Italians are unable or at least unwilling to cave in and feed Ecclestone’s greed by paying higher hosting fees, believed to be somewhere north of 25 million quid.

Monza would just be the latest of many historic tracks that have either been Tilke’d, like Hockenheim, or dropped from the calendar in favor of soulless Tilkedromes in all the wrong parts of the world.

In a futile attempt, I present my own counter-offer for a proper season:

1. GP of South Afrika – Kyalami
2. GP of Brazil – Interlagos
3. GP Of Argentina – Buenos Aires
4. GP of Mexico – Mexico City
5. GP Of Canada – Montreal
6. Indy 500
7. GP Of Spain – Barcelona
8. GP Of Monaco – Monte Carlo
9. GP Of France – Curcuit Bugatti, Le Mans
10. GP Of Germany – Eurospeedway
11. GP Of Great Britain – Silverstone
12. GP Of Hungary – Hungaro Ring
— Summer Break —
13. GP Of Austria – Red Bull Ring
14. GP Of Belgium – Spa Franchorchamps
15. GP Of Portugal – Portimao
16. GP Of Italy – Monza
— 3 weeks break —
16. United States GP – Road America
17. GP Of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
18. GP Of Singapore
19. GP Of Japan – Suzuka
20. GP Of Australia – Adelaide

1-5 “New World Tour”

The start of the season happens almost entirely on the American continents. Watching Brazil at the end of the season feels wrong on so many levels for someone who started watching F1 in the late 80s. Kyalami and Buenos Aires may not have the longest history in F1, but completely omitting Africa and leaving South America with just one race is wrong, too.

Mexico in my opinion needs to get the Peraltada back. The lobotomized track we’ll get to have our eyes burned out by later this year is like running Spa with a tyre chicane in front of Radillon, oh… wait…

Canada is moved forward and the predictably cool temperatures give the engineers and drivers something to earn their salary.

The month of May is reserved for the Indy 500 to return. Teams have to buy a chassis and engine for it or hook up with an existing team. Smaller teams would probably give that one a pass, but that’s just like it was in the olden days and it would give Indy qualifying some sort of meaning again as an influx of F1 teams would mean they could see in excess of forty cars trying to make the field.

Points would of course be awarded independently from Indycars, so in addition to the Indycar points they would get F1 points if finishing in the top 10. It’s a long shot, but for instance there is one driver in F1 with openwheel oval racing experience – Nico Hülkenberg. Imagine a Force India liveried Dallara-Chevy winning the thing. Another one with Oval experience is Kimi Räikkönen, who ran several NASCAR sanctioned races during his two-year hiatus from F1

European Leg 1

Due to the long break for the Indy 500 the entire first leg happens on eight weekends in June and July. In exchange the teams had four weeks of development time prior to Barcelona.

Like in the days of yore, in Hippo’s world F1 is a quintessentially European invention and needs a strong European Campaign. France is back, as is Germany, but neither do we run at the soulless socialist abomination called Circuit de Nevers, nor at Hockenheim or the Nürburgring.

Why that bland thing near Magny-Cours won’t come back should be a no-brainer. The Circuit Bugatti might not be the most spectacular track, but Le Mans oozes history. It would be a shambles not to run there.

The biggest surprise might be the Eurospeedway. I included it for two reasons. From all but the cheapest seats, you can see the entire track at all times. People would actually not miss any action. And like the Peraltada in Mexico, it has a banked corner. That would force whatever tyre supplier there is, to come up with a product that doesn’t disintegrate if you look at it cross-eyed. Heck, if it was for me, they’d run the Oval. There have been oval Formula 3 races there in 2005 and 2006. They were described in the press as “utterly mad and amazing”. Think 25 lead changes per race and you get the idea.

On a different note, since F1 seems hell-bent on going green; Unless there is no wind whatsoever, the Eurospeedway is powered by its own wind power-plant. Doesn’t get much greener than that.

In my first draft I thought about putting the German GP on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, but having driven countless laps there, I’m convinced those flimsy cars of today wouldn’t survive a single lap there and Pastor Maldonado would take the meaning of Flugplatz a bit too literally, I’m afraid. And that’s not even counting what would happen to tyres that can’t even do 30 laps round Spa-Francorchamps. We’d see ten-stop races.

European Leg 2

After the summer break we have five more European races with the only surprise being Portimao. The track is relatively new and modern and has good climate. There’s a reason why so many DTM and WEC tests have been done there.

Red Bull Ring might be a relative newcomer, but no matter what you think personally about Red Bull, there is no doubt that Mateschitz has invested a lot of money and turned it into a world class facility.

Pacific Rim Tour

It starts out in America, but instead of Austin, in my world the race happens on a proper track and there are seriously only two candidates for that – Long Beach or Road America. Of course it would never happen, but one is allowed to dream.

Kuala Lumpur and Singapore might be relatively new and Tilkedromes on top of that, but both have proven in the past that they can make for exciting racing and Asia deserves more than one GP. I don’t think Suzuka needs much lobbying, it just belongs in the calendar.

Melbourne is gone and just like it was in the olden days, we end the season in Adelaide, giving us a third street course where engine power isn’t the deciding factor.

Here you are – Hippo’s dream season. Let us know what races and tracks you would add.

57 responses to “Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: A Fan’s Season

  1. Looks ok to me but jigger it a bit more so Usa is up there when Canada Mexico and then Brazil. If you’re going to fly all the stuff over there please don’t make them do it twice.

  2. I’d add Donington Park, in April.
    Race to be abandoned if no rain.

    Who needs sprinklers if you just set the calendar right.

    btw..yup, love to see Adelaide back as the closer.

    • You could just as well swap Nutella for crap, Fortis. Monza is the track that has hosted the most F1 GP’s of all tracks ever used. You can’t really take that one off the calendar 😉

      • On that note, Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa (top 4 circuits to host GPs), hard to imagine any F1 calendar without them on it (probably also Montreal, Suzuka, Interlagos and a German circuit, usually Nurbs/Hock).

    • I agree with you Fortis, I’d love to see Mugello on the F1 calendar. It’d be perfect for a modern F1 car to really stretch its legs, aero, pu and brakes; not to mention a drivers ability. It’s a brilliant track, up there with Suzuka and Phillip Island, in my opinion. It’s on the “bucket-list” for me… I have to punt something around there for a day at least once before my balls sag too far.

      On the other hand, I agree with Hippo on his point about Monza. It IS the Italian Grand Prix and the ultra-high speed nature, and trimmed out downforce, adds some valuable flavour and track-uniqueness to the calendar that’s very quickly becoming “tilkefied”. I can’t cope with the idea of Monza going as it is… but there’s no reason we can’t have Mugello run under the European GP moniker. Either in dreamlandia or realworldopolis.

      Two GP’s in Italy? Sure, why not. If it would work in any country, Italy is the one. There used to be two Italian rounds not long ago.

      It’d be a better European GP than Azerbaijan, or any of the recent tracks that enjoyed that moniker. The stands would be full, the passion would be flowing and spectacle that F1 should have would be welcomed.

      Other than that, I don’t want to do my top 20 calendar… it saddens my fragile soul to see what the calendar has become over the past decade or so. I don’t need the reminder.

  3. Great list. Road America is a brilliant idea whose time needs to come.
    i would only suggest finding a place for Zandvoort in The Netherlands. Personally, I could do without Malaysia.
    Fun read for an early West Coast morning. Thanks.

  4. I would add Rockingham, a banked track where spectaters can see the entire track and is wide enough to ensure exciting racing.

  5. No Imola or Estoril? Not sure what state either track is in though. Love the idea of F1 teams running at Indy.

  6. 01 – Bahrain, but only after they pay double for the season opener and agree to cover the costs (tyres, logistics, engine fees) of hosting a three days post GP test session where teams are allowed to run two cars per day. Win/win. They get all the media and positive publicity, F1 gets more track time and cash;
    02 – Brazil, Interlagos;
    03 – Turkey, Istambul;
    04 – Spain, Motorland Aragon, back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with;
    05 – Austria, Red Bull Ring;
    06 – Monaco;
    07 – Canada, Montreal, back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with;
    08 – USA, Austin;
    09 – France, Paul Ricard, 1985 layout; back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with;
    10 – UK, Silverstone; back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with
    11 – Germany, Hockenheim Ring, modified layout with a straight directly between turns 7 and 10 (yes, three weeks, three races, France, UK and Germany);
    11 – Hungary, Hungaroring;
    – 4 week summer break;
    12 – Abu Dhabi, but only after they pay double for the post summer break GP and agree to cover the costs (tyres, logistics, engine fees) of hosting a three days post GP test session where teams are allowed to run two cars per day. Win/win. They get all the media and positive publicity, F1 gets more track time and cash;
    13 – Belgium, Spa; back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with
    14 – Italy, Monza;
    15 – Russia, Sochi;
    16 – Singapore;
    17 – Korea, Yeongam; back to back, if logistically possible and reasonable, with
    18 – Japan, Suzuka;
    19 – Australia, Adelaide.

    Mexico, Malaysia, Imola, Estoril, Barcelona, etc, I see no reason for them to remain or join unless they pay an absurd (and untenable) fee which directly funds teams track operations and tyre development.

    • I had to cut and copy some of the GPs until they fell in the final order, which is why 11 repeats itself for Germany and Hungary and the list ends at 19 instead of 20.

      I also have some concerns for the heat for both the USA and Abu Dhabi dates, but I expect current drivers to be extremely well prepared for a hotter summer’s day race. If I somehow missed extreme and hazardous weather, sorry. Just reshuffle the dates accordingly.

      Ideally this season would beging on the first weekend of March and end on the first weekend of November. The summber break would take most of august. If clashes with other major sporting events force an expansion, it shold be done by having it start earlier rather the end later.

      I did not consider imaginary circuits or real circuits/events which would not meet current FIA safety requirements without being destroyed and rebuilt. It’s a list/proposal, not a crackhead pipe dream.

      I did think of obtaining a balance between european and fly away GPs, which was my prime reason for including Austria. I do not know what geopilitical interpretation regarding GP status would be applied to Turkey and Russia.

      Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were only included considering their wealth and how they can best join the calendar and obtain proeminence while being useful for all of F1. I think Pirelli, or whomever, and the teams would enjoy more track time.

      I hope you guys like the list.

      • There may be a slight flaw in your timing of the Abu Dhabi GP. I live in the UAE and can vouch for the fact that the ‘out in the sun’ temperature has been in the high 40s/ low 50s (yes, that’s Celsius) over the past month EXCEPT when we have had dust storms that have reduced visibility to about 2kms maximum in some parts of the country. Ask those who do the commute along the Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway and they will confirm that it’s not been a pleasant experience this year – even discounting the suicidal driving practices of a high proportion of those using the route.

        Not ideal conditions for piloting F1 machinery, I’d say, no matter how well conditioned the pilots.

        • I’m convinced.

          Then maybe swap it with Russia. The most important thing is to convince them to have the race held mid season with a test session immediately after it.

          • I’d say move it 3 GPs later, so b2b with Russia, or have it last like it is now (which is a good reason to pay double for). Teams could then run Young Driver Tests again along with any development ideas they have for the next year.

          • Being last is only really prestigious and useful if the WDC remains undecided by the time they got there. I think F1 would be better served if FOM/FIA convinced Abu Dhabi that a mid season date with a subsequent testing session would make it a much more important and visible event with assured WDC repercussion.

            Few circuits have the prestige and genuine admiration to hold season finales regardless of there being a WDC battle or not. From the top of my head, it’s a shortlist with Adelaide, Albert Park, Interlagos and Suzuka.

          • On that note, I think Brazil is better served as being a title decider, plus it ties in with USA/Mexico at year’s end, and Argentina if they still had the economy.

            Temperatures rule out the Middle East in the middle of the year, e.g. the World Cup debate and attempts to hold a Qatari GP.

  7. 17. GP Of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
    18. GP Of Singapore

    Having back to back GPs in places only 400km apart isnt a wise idea because it’ll took some strain to people who save up money to go even to 1 GP..At the current format we could go to the Malaysian GP and after that start saving again for the September Singapore GP.. That’ll be more practical..

  8. I would remove Monaco and open wheel racing on ovals is not something I’m interested in, Watkins Glen or Mount Paramount could be great and throw in Istanbul park as well.

  9. Watkins Glen in its current form is a death trap. Might as well trade Silverstone for Brands Hatch (my single favourite circuit of the world, yet no F1 compatible anymore) while we’re at it.

    • If we have had ‘European Gp’s’ in all kinds of places and a ‘Luxemburg Gp’ in germany, I think Bernie should lure the rich arabs to host a Bahrain-Italiian Friendship Gp at Monza. For example.

      Ah how fantasy can entertain and energize!

  10. Road America is a brilliant track. Coming from a country where the cars go left-ish and right-ish that’s a big deal! And as for spa if we are dreaming I’d like the old busstop back please.

  11. If we remove all Tilke’d tracks, then we would have a nice calendar. Turkey might be the exception as I think it’s a good track and it’s long sequence of left-handers is quite good. Great mention about Le Mans, I never liked Magny-Cours much.

    In an ideal world, maybe we could neuter the old Nürburgring just enough so that it’s safe for drivers but without killing the track completely. Not sure about the US GP though… I haven’t seen Road America, Laguna Seca is not a bad racing track either. From Asia, I think Suzuka and Singapore are the best shouts.

  12. I like your list Hippo, except for the Indy 500 entry. I will agree with it however if we go back to cars from the 60′, 70’s or 80’s.

  13. what is the difference between a HIPPO and a ZIPPO??
    one is really heavy and the other is a little lighter 🙂

    seriously, I LUV ur list!!

    personally I would like Mosport to replace Montreal and the Glen to replace Road America, but that is just nit picking.

    you, Sir, are on a roll!!

    • Was going to throw in for Mosport but you beat me to it. Watched TUSC race there this year. What a grand track!! Of course the Glen would be great because I could actually get to it, but it would need some serious updating for F1. No reason not to keep Road America as far as I can see, they’re all surrounded by grass instead of parking lots. If we’re going to be mental I would throw in Montjuic and Macau, which I much prefer to Malaysia. Even though it would probably just be another Monaco, I just keep imagining everyone getting crazy eyes in the first corner.

      In my Bernie like fashion I’ll leave logistics to someone else, but thanks Hippo, this is the perfect antidote to a long day!

  14. Hippo’s calendar is creative has some issues.

    Kyalami is unsuited to F1 nowadays, Argentina is in disrepair, Indy 500 isn’t F1 at all, Bugatti Le Mans is small and tight and would be a long procession, Eurospeedway is a banked cookie cutter, Road America would need massive and unrealistic upgrades, Singapore and Malaysia are an obvious regional overkill.

    Other than that it’s fine.

  15. I like the list. On the French gp, Bugatti track is a good idea, but if we can’t resurrect Reims or even Rouen, how about Dijon? Last I heard it still existed.

    Agreed on Road America. Travesty that F1 doesn’t go there. Possibly add Watkins Glen too.

    Shame what Tilke did to Zeltweg, but it is a very pretty part of the world.

  16. I’m all for Portimao… Estoril is a shithole and always was, but there are some great races at Portimao, and it is one of my favourite for virtual races too in Race Room Race Experience… awesome elevation changes, particularly Turn 1 to… hell, its all awesome!

  17. Just for fun, here’s my pipe dream calendar.

    01 – Bathurst
    02 – Singapore
    03 – Istambul Park
    04 – Motorland Aragon
    05 – Monaco
    06 – Montreal
    07 – Paul Ricard
    08 – Brands Hatch
    09 – Norisring
    10 – Hungaroring
    12 – Spa
    13 – Salzburgring
    14 – Monza
    15 – Suzuka
    16 – Interlagos

  18. I think pre 2003 magny had the whole package, actually. A good combo of grande courbe and estoril (like a mini-souzouka or mini-silverstone) with a long enough straight (like a mini-kemmel) into a very tight hairpin, a flowing second sector with not too tight corners, fast chicanes and a slow one just before the last turn which had some considerable elevation drop as well (like a mini-corkscrew). Not much to criticize, actually, really.

    • Nomízo̱ eísai Élli̱nas… eísai?

      And I didn’t mind Magny either. I’d take that circuit over Yas Marina, or the old Valencia street circuit any day.

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