Our Vision of a Dream F1 Schedule For the 2026 Season

The concept of a perfect Formula 1 calendar is always going to be a case of what is good for some is not good for others.

Formula 1, however, is well-positioned to decide the length of season it wants and the places it wants to go. The sport can then open up the bidding for the races that want to join the fun.

The current 23-race schedule has put the strain on the teams with ridiculous logistics. Intercontinental tripleheaders (three races in three consecutive weekends) are absolutely not the right idea in an age where the sport wants to be carbon-neutral. It is also daft to go to places where you know the weather will not be great. Rain can happen almost anywhere, but F1 does not need to seek it out. So one has to balance the traditions of the sport, the future ambitions, the climate, the population, its buying power and, of course, the time zones.

It might be great to imagine a race in Hawaii, but the time zones don’t work for everywhere. A Sunday afternoon race in Hawaii would be in the early hours of Monday morning in Europe and it would be breakfast time in Asia, so viewers would be going to work and not staying home to watch cars racing around palm trees.

Afternoon races in the North American time zones (especially the Pacific time zone) mean late-night viewing in Europe. Similarly, afternoon races in Europe make for very early mornings for U.S. race fans,. You have to be a passionate fan to get out of bed at four in the morning to watch racing cars. It’s a challenge.

The obvious conclusion is for the World Championship schedule to become much more regionalized. Europe is the dominant force in the F1 calendar, but there is little doubt that the sport needs to get more of a presence in Asia, North America and Middle East.

To pull this off, some races would have to give up their cherished dates for the good of the overall cause. Rather than zipping backwards and forwards around the world, it would be good to have the regional races in the same period each year, as much as possible.

Sure, there’s some work that would need to be done. That’s why we’re happy to give Formula 1 five years to pull this off.

The logical thing, which is what happened in 2021, is for F1 to open with a warm-weather winter test in the Middle East and then leave the equipment there for the season-opening race.

The cars could then be dispatched to Singapore, where a March race would be in the dry season with humidity low but plenty of sunshine and the least amount of rain in the year. This would make Singapore a more attractive venue for tourist dollars.

It would then be a good moment to do a Japan-China back-to-back, at a time of year when typhoons don’t happen in early April and then it would be logical for the sport to go down to Melbourne where the temperatures would still be comfortable, before the Australian autumn really kicks in.

A China race at a time of year when typhoons don’t happen in early April makes sense.

Shanghai has lost races two years running to the pandemic, but its place is safe on the schedule if F1 wants to keep a foothold in that market. And it does.

Australia in March has been a good event, although it was also a great race when it was held in Adelaide in the autumn. Australia has long held on to the first race, as this tends to attract more attention, but this race is just a better fit a little later into this dream schedule.

In late April, the F1 circus could do a second race in China (Chengdu would be perfect) but one must also look at India and Indonesia, both of which have huge developing consumer markets.

F1 has tried India already (most recently in 2013), but it went wrong because of hopeless bureaucracy. If India wants to join the fun, it will have to play by F1’s rules. What is important for this place on the schedule is the time zone.

Turkey has a big population and a great race track to host one of the Middle Eastern races. While the Gulf states are small, they too have great venues and are willing to pay a lot.

Saudi Arabia, too, is a possibility here. If the Saudis want it, they will pay for it.

There is no question that F1 needs an African race (or two) and the best time of year to go to Cape Town (which would be fabulous) is May.

Monaco, Spa, Silverstone and Monza are necessary for the tradition. They’re not going anywhere. And they’re on any dream schedule.

In truth, it might be best to have a second race in North Africa because 250 million people live there (of Africa’s 1.2 billion).

The obvious choice is Egypt because it has 102 million people, but there are good reasons, too, to go to either Algeria (44 million) or Morocco (36 million). Imagine an F1 race in Marrakesh or on the corniche in Casablanca.

F1 is about glamour too, so there need to be exotic destinations.

France should be included, and we’d love to see a race in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, rather than the austere and complex venue that is Paul Ricard—and that would help boost the number of northern European races.

The European season is complicated by the fact that a holiday period is needed for the sanity of those involved in the sport.

One does need to see the partner and kids from time to time. Half of May, June, July and part of August and the start of September provides enough space for eight European races with the necessary vacation gap built into the schedule.

in a perfect world, Germany would have a race, too. We’d love to see F1 racing on a lengthened version of the Norisring in Nuremberg.

The perfect calendar would be one in which all three of the major time zones share roughly the same number of prime-time races.

The Americas, Europe/Africa and Asia/Pacific should each have seven races, with an eighth in Europe to keep the historical balance. That would make for a 22-race calendar, but with a sensible back-to-back races, this could be managed, while still allowing F1 teams and officials to see their families on a more regular basis.

There’s room for a historical venue like Spa.

If each time zone gets its share of the races, the F1 audiences can grow more quickly because there is more than just one or two races at peak viewing hours.

Having each time zone get its share of prime-time events would fit neatly into the whole “We Race As One” concept that F1 has been pushing. Equality can be applied to TV broadcasting as well. This will help build audiences around the world.

One of the biggest problems with the current F1 summer calendar is Canada, which hugs to its June date with great tenacity.

This is logical for the Canadians but doesn’t work for F1, and it would be better if the race could be moved to the autumn and paired with the other North American races before things get too cold up in Quebec.

Being the extreme northernmost F1 destination on the American side of the globe, Canada would need to be the first of any stretch of races in the Americas because of the weather.

Then the sport could pop over to California. Either Long Beach or Laguna Seca would be great. Let’s say Long Beach, where IndyCar has a history of high-speed racing, and there is a strong open-wheel fan base.

The world’s biggest consumer market is the United States of America—where F1 is weakest—and thus the sport needs to push harder to get into the market.

It would then be sensible to head down south to Buenos Aires where it would be a great time of year with southern hemisphere spring temperatures.

It is logical to twin a race in Argentina with Brazil so that the logistics make sense. Sao Paulo may not be the best place to visit, but Interlagos is a great circuit and the Brazilian market is huge.

Then it would be north again to Mexico for the Day of the Dead national holiday in early November, which is a great time of year in Mexico City.

And then on to yet another U.S. race, in Texas, Miami or Las Vegas.

We’d love to see a race in the autumn in New York—just for the wow factor—and we think it would really put the sport on the map on another level in the U.S.

Don’t get us wrong, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is a great venue, but it’s not New York or Los Angeles.

In this dream schedule, the F1 season would come to an end in the Caribbean. It is among the best places from a time-zone perspective, but it is also naturally glamorous, particularly as other parts of the world move towards winter.

There were popular races in this part of the world in the 1950s, notably in the Bahamas where there used to a Speed Week in Nassau, with two big events and a week of sunshine and cocktail parties between the two. That went on until the mid 1960s when the World War II landing craft used to take the cars to the island was impounded by the United States customs.

But while the Bahamas might make sense in some respects, Cuba could be even better. There was a street race in Havana back in the 1950s, using the Malecon, a stretch of road that runs alongside the sea in the city. It could still be a great venue. And, of course, Havana has a romance about it that few other cities can match.

It is not all possible but one can dream.

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