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Formula 1 Expands its 2012 Calendar

June 4, 2011

Yesterday, the FIA released a controversial provisional calendar for the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship.

As well as being reinstated for later this year, the Bahrain Grand Prix will retake its position as the season opener next March. The following week will see the Grand Prix circus make the long, long trip to Melbourne.Sepang and Shanghai will follow; however the Korea Grand Prix moves to April, becoming part of the initial “fly-away” period of the season.
The championship moves to Europe in May, starting with a trip to Istanbul; however there are still question marks as to whether the contract for this race is to be renewed.
Barcelona and Monaco fill out the latter half of the month.

A brief trip to North America follows in June, starting with a race at the fabulous Montreal circuit, before the inaugural Formula 1 event in Austin, Texas.
July and early August sees a return to European circuit, prior to the summer break, taking in trips to Valencia, Silverstone, Nurburgring and Hungaroring.
Following a four-week gap, races in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza fill out the last of the European season. The year is then to finish off with trips to Singapore, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi and finally Brazil.

It marks the largest calendar in the history of the World Championship, bringing the count to 21 races should the Turkish Grand Prix go ahead.
Several worries grow out of this phenomenon, mainly that of crew and series exhaustion.

With teams unwilling or unable to commit to dual squads, the strain on the engineers and crew involved in the sport may only grow, potentially leading to burn out across the grid.
For those that may only see the work that goes on during the weekend, the season is a non-stop trek from car building, to pre-season testing to the actual Grand Prix themselves, followed by post-season testing.

There are those who will end up staying away from home for many, many weeks at a time, something that eventually gets spread out over the course of the season. The toll that this could take on the general lives of people who work in Formula 1 may be too great a price.
Pushing people beyond breaking point for a reason as vapid as sporting entertainment is purely selfish.

In terms of audience exposure, Formula 1 runs the risk of product dilution. Rather than let the grow in a consistent manner, constant feeding of Grand Prix to its main target audience could potentially wear away the anticipation that the sport thrives on.

Unlike decades gone by, this is not equivalent to drivers running off to race in non-championship races at Oulton Park or Brands Hatch – coverage of the sport in those days bordered on the absolute minimal, greatly lessoning the potential for overfilling coverage.
On the other hand, we saw only yesterday that Formula 1 can go against the grain of what its fans want and deserve.

2012 Formula 1 World Championship (Provisional)
March 9-11               Sakhir, Bahrain
March 16-18              Melbourne, Australia
March 30 - April 1       Sepang, Malaysia
April 6-8                Shanghai, China
April 20-22              Yeongam, South Korea
May 4-6                  Istanbul, Turkey*
May 18-20                Barcelona, Spain
May 25-27                Monte Carlo, Monaco
June 8-10                Montreal, Canada
June 15-17               Texas, United States
June 29 - July 1         Valencia, Spain (Europe)
July 13-15               Silverstone, Britain
July 27-29               Nurburgring, Germany
August 3-5               Hungaroring, Hungary
August 31 - September 2  Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
September 7-9            Monza, Italy
September 28-30          Marina Bay, Singapore
October 12-14            Suzuka, Japan
October 26-28            Delhi, India
November 9-11            Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
November 23-25           Interlagos, Brazil
* Subject to confirmation.

I have decided not to write about the 2013 Formula 1 technical regulations released yesterday, as they all go completely over my head.

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