Was a Red Bull Ring repeat the best solution to F1’s latest calendar headache? · RaceFans


Has a chance has been missed with F1’s announcement it’ll once more race on the Purple Bull Ring twice this yr?

Groups are already being subjected to the game’s longest-ever, 23-race schedule. Does it actually need to incorporate two races on the identical circuit?

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic final yr led F1 to interrupt with its long-held conference of by no means holding a number of rounds on the similar venue in a calendar yr. The disrupted 2020 schedule opened 4 races months later than deliberate with a double-header on the Purple Bull Ring, then raced twice at Silverstone the next month.

Later within the yr Bahrain held one other double-header. Usefully, its observe has a couple of F1-ready structure. Its second race was held on the Outer Circuit, giving a very completely different character to the earlier spherical every week earlier.

F1 received’t have that choice when it returns to the Purple Bull Ring this yr, nevertheless. The Austrian observe is already one of many shortest on the calendar and has no various layouts which meet the minimal size necessities essential to carry a grand prix.

Grosjean’s solely Mercedes run will occur behind closed doorways

The addition of a second race in Austria has come about following the cancellation of the Turkish Grand Prix (simply 16 days after it was introduced, which should be some type of file). Istanbul Park was added to the 2021 F1 calendar rather than the Canadian Grand Prix when that race was referred to as off.

The brand new association is unsatisfying for a couple of cause. The sooner date for the French Grand Prix means it now coincides with IndyCar’s race at Street America, wherein Romain Grosjean will compete. His deliberate demonstration run in a Mercedes F1 automobile in entrance of spectators at Paul Ricard will subsequently not happen (his separate non-public take a look at will nonetheless go forward).

Some 15,000 ticket-holders for the French race will face disruption because of the date change, and never all might be able to attend the occasion now it has been moved forwards by every week. RaceFans understands the grand prix promoters are disenchanted by the event, however the choice was out of their fingers. F1 thanked them for his or her co-operation in a press release launched at this time.

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Did the game even want to switch its misplaced Turkish/Canadian spherical, when it has so many different races scheduled? As was the case final yr, as soon as eight rounds are held the world championship is official, and it ought to tick that field effectively earlier than the summer time break. Broadcasting rights offers are thought to demand no less than 15 rounds, which F1 will obtain even when Covid claims seven extra occasions.

Start, Interlagos, 2019
Later rounds of the championship are unsure

However as current occasions have absolutely demonstrated, F1 can’t afford to go away something to likelihood with Covid-19. The tide could also be turning in opposition to the pandemic, however it’s actually not doing so all over the place on the similar charge.

An infection and vaccination charges differ enormously worldwide. The gradual return to normality loved by some international locations is below menace from rising new variants of the virus. Going through that, F1 has evidently taken the view that ‘a chook within the hand is value two within the bush’ and is prudently making certain it completes as a lot of its championship as potential whereas it could actually.

Nonetheless, was a greater choice obtainable than holding two races on the identical observe? With no disrespect to Austria’s spherical – which efficiently held F1’s first post-Covid races final yr – of the 2 occasions to ‘double up’ on, France’s held apparent benefits. And never solely when it comes to avoiding inconvenience to followers and permitting Grosjean’s demo run to go forward.

Whereas the Purple Bull Ring provides no various layouts, Paul Ricard has a dizzying variety of variants – effectively over 100. Whereas a few of these wouldn’t be appropriate for F1, a big quantity are.

It will have supplied a great alternative to reply the query which F1 has wrestled with because it returned to the French circuit in 2018: Would the racing profit from bypassing the Mistral chicane on its lengthy straight? Completely different variations of a number of different corners are additionally obtainable, together with the Verrerie S-bend at first of the lap. Alternatively, the collection might have reverted to the abbreviated configuration it used within the late eighties.

Paul Ricard reprofiling and resurfacing, 2021
Paul Ricard has many various configurations

At Paul Ricard, F1 might have held races on two virtually fully completely different tracks on the similar venue. As an alternative, on the Purple Bull Ring, it has no alternative however to race on the identical observe for 2 weeks in a row and subsequently dangers serving up a well-recognized spectacle every time.

It might convey completely different tyre picks for every spherical – Pirelli is contemplating its choices having already nominated the C2, C3 and C4 tyres for the Austrian Grand Prix. However F1 experimented with this scheme at Silverstone final yr and whereas the end result was two completely different winners, it’s debatable whether or not both was a very extra memorable race.

All through the unprecedented upheaval Covid-19 wrought on the world, Formulation 1 has finished a wonderful job of conserving the present on the street. It has performed round 95,000 Covid-19 checks throughout race weekends with a constructive charge of 0.1%. It held 17 races final yr and is set to get 23 finished this yr.

However for all of the credit score they deserve, and whereas the choice to press on with rescheduling its newest misplaced race is comprehensible, this feels just like the second-best answer.

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