NewsKnight’s Formula 1 expert, W Wootten, casts his gaze over the amazing racing tracks that will feature in this speedy year…
F1 in a nutshell
In the world of F1, racing is not limited to the existing tracks. New circuits are constantly being added to the calendar, offering new challenges for drivers and fans around the globe. So strap in as we discover the future of F1!
There are some notable absences from this year’s roster. Nürburgring's, the original 17 mile long circuit and a newer GT track, is fit for F1 cars. However, there has been no official bid to the FIA yet. A new Spanish street circuit is currently under construction in Madrid - which will be iconic and exciting - and this is likely to replace the Barcelona track currently on the calendar. The FIA has announced that there will be a 2026 Grand Prix in Madrid which many hardcore F1 fans are angry about. There are probably hundreds of reasons why this change has been instigated, but I’ll boil it down to a main reason.
Every year, The FIA has to replace and remove tracks from the calendar to increase revenue and enjoyment.
An African Adventure
South Africa’s Kyalami is the most likely option for the FIA, but this means that a track will need to be removed and that is looking like it will be Spa-Francorchamps. Many “hardcore” or “elite” fans have heavily contested this possibility, as this is a track with a lot of history and many drivers have high opinion of it.
“It’s a cool place and a very historic track,” says AlphaTauri Driver, Daniel Ricciardo. The lap is long but it’s one where you feel that if you make a little mistake somewhere, maybe you can get it back, as there are so many corners and it’s never over until the full lap is done.”
Moving away from the spotlight, two unlikely tracks may be added. Rwanda and Morocco! The two have been shrouded in speculation for months now. All we know is that there has been no official bid yet.
Clash of the Teutonics
First and foremost this is the ongoing battle. Germany is vying with Austria over which will be the best circuit of Northern Europe: the Nürburgring against the Red Bull Ring. Nürburgring is a historical track, first opening in 1957 and having countless races on its tarmac. In 2014, it was finally closed and removed from the F1 calendar. Rumours are that one of these iconic circuits will be substituted for the other. So it’s gloves in the Germanic countries.
In a significant development, the fate of the Chinese Grand Prix has been thrown into doubt due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. China's close ties with Russia, which is at the centre of the conflict, have led to calls for the FIA to remove the Chinese Grand Prix from the F1 calendar as a form of protest. This move has sparked intense debate within the F1 community. Some argue that politics should not interfere with sports, while others believe that F1 - as a global platform - has a responsibility to take a stand against international conflicts that violate human rights.
Land of the Rising Track?
The FIA has yet to make a final decision on the matter, but the controversy serves as a stark reminder of how political issues can impact the world of sports. It also underscores the delicate balance that F1, like many international sports, must maintain in navigating global politics. Meanwhile, in Japan, there are plans to revitalise the iconic Suzuka Circuit. Known for its challenging layout and high-speed corners, Suzuka has been a mainstay in F1 for decades. However, the proposed changes have stirred up controversy among fans and drivers alike, marking yet another contentious development in the ever-evolving world of F1.
The proposed changes to Suzuka Circuit are aimed at making the track more challenging and unpredictable. Some of the proposed changes include modifications to the track layout, introducing more high-speed corners, and even altering the elevation of certain parts of the track. These changes are expected to test the drivers' skills and push them to their limits, but not everyone is on board with the idea.
Many fans and drivers argue that the changes could undermine the historical significance of the circuit, which has seen countless memorable moments in the history of F1. They fear that altering the track could take away from the unique character and charm that Suzuka is famous for. These sentiments highlight the delicate balance between modernization and preservation that is at the heart of many debates in F1.
The Return of India?
On a different note, India might be back on the F1 map soon. The Buddh International Circuit, which hosted its last F1 race in 2013, is being considered for a return. The track was popular among drivers for its high-speed straights and challenging corners, but financial issues led to its removal from the calendar. Now, there are talks of reviving the track, and many fans are excited at the prospect of seeing F1 cars race there again.
The F1 calendar is always evolving, with new tracks being introduced and old ones being modified or retired. These changes bring new challenges for the drivers and fresh excitement for the fans. As F1 continues to grow and evolve as a global sport, it remains essential to balance modernization with the preservation of history and tradition. No matter what changes lie ahead, the passion for speed, skill, and the thrill of competition that lies at the heart of F1 will continue to drive the sport forward.