The Formula One Group have today announced a major shake-up to the Formula One calendar for the 2019 season. The calendar will be extended to twenty five rounds, with the Indy 500 returning as a round of the championship for the first time since 1960 and the season finale being held on the streets of New York in December.
Chase Carey, executive chairman of the Formula One Group, says he’s ‘delighted’ by the new calendar and says the changes have been part of Liberty Media’s ‘long term plan’ for the future of the sport:
“I think it’s great that we’re finally able to bring the sport to the people who want to see it the most. America is a huge market for this global sport.”
Here’s the radical new 2019 Formula One calendar:
|1||Fuzzy’s Phoenix Grand Prix||Phoenix Street Circuit||3rd March|
|2||Watkins Glen Grand Prix||Watkins Glen||10th March|
|3||Disney Grand Prix||Walt Disney World, Florida||24th March|
|4||California Grand Prix||Laguna Seca||1st April|
|5||Miami Grand Prix||Miami City Circuit||14th April|
|6||Wisconsin Grand Prix||Road America||28th April|
|7||Sonoma Grand Prix||Sonoma Raceway||12th May|
|8||The 2019 Indianapolis 500||Indy Oval||26th May|
|9||Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve||9th June|
|10||KFC Utah Grand Prix||Utah Motorsports Campus||23rd June|
|11||Georgia Grand Prix||Road Atlanta||30th June|
|12||Florida Grand Prix||Sebring International Raceway||7th July|
|13||Oregon Grand Prix||Portland International Raceway||21st July|
|14||Caesars Las Vegas Grand Prix||Las Vegas City Circuit||28th July|
|15||Virginia Grand Prix||Virginia International Raceway||25th August|
|16||Toronto Grand Prix||Streets of Toronto||1st September|
|17||Pirelli Pennsylvania Grand Prix||Pocono Raceway||15th September|
|18||Texaco Texas Grand Prix||Texas World Speedway||29th September|
|19||ABC U.S. Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas||6th October|
|20||Buttonwillow Grand Prix||Buttonwillow Raceway Park||20th October|
|21||Lay’s Long Beach Grand Prix||Long Beach Street Circuit||27th October|
|22||Nevada Grand Prix||Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch||3rd November|
|23||St. Petersburg Grand Prix||St. Petersburg Street Circuit||17th November|
|24||McDonalds Massachusetts Grand Prix||Boston Street Circuit||24th November|
|25||New York Grand Prix||New York City Circuit||1st December|
The Phoenix Grand Prix, sponsored by the Vodka brand Fuzzy’s, will return as the season opener on the same circuit used at the first race of the F1 season in both 1990 and 1991, despite Chase Carey’s previous criticism of the track.
One of the highlights of the season is bound to be the Disney Grand Prix, which will celebrate Formula One’s 1000th Grand Prix event in style. The track is a temporary track, in a shape resembling the outline of Mickey Mouse’s head, around the ever-popular Disneyland resort in Florida.
The return of the Indy 500 to the Formula One calendar for the first time in almost sixty years is expected to be a major talking point. It also gives Fernando Alonso a chance of taking the Triple Crown next season. With revised aero packages for the oval race only, F1 cars will compete on track with Indy Cars, as the two types of machinery do battle on-track for the first time. Points for the Formula One championship will be awarded separately to the points for the IndyCar drivers, but drivers from both categories will undoubtedly want to take the honour of being the overall Indy 500 champion in 2019. F1 will also follow Indy Car’s lead by using the same road courses as the American racing series in Toronto, Long Beach and St Petersburg.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
As well as the Indy 500 returning, Formula One will also return to the Watkins Glen track for the first time since 1980. The track will hold the second race of the season.
Another unique feature of the calendar is the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will hold a double points race as the first half of the season reaches its climax. Chase Carey said of the race:
“Las Vegas is heavily associated with gambling and our drivers will be playing all or nothing on the streets of Las Vegas in the double points round in 2019.”
It is hoped that the double points round will spice up the championship race ahead of the summer break.
The Circuit of the Americas and the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve are the only tracks which remain on the calendar from the 2018 season. The COTA track will keep its title of the ‘U.S. Grand Prix’ on the 6th October, as a race at the Texas Speedway a week before the event will be titled the ‘Texaco Texas Grand Prix’. Speaking about the new calendar, Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at F1, said:
“Italy, Monaco, Great Britain – they’re all old markets. America is the future. Formula One doesn’t necessarily need America, but America sure does need Formula One!”
There’ll also be three brand new street circuits, designed by Avril Abruti. In addition to races on new tracks on the streets of Miami and Boston, the curtain will close on the 2019 season with a night race in the spectacular setting of New York. Abruti has called Formula 1’s previous owners ‘fools’ for not visiting the city before:
“NYC is the perfect place for a Formula One race. It encapsulates the glitz and glamour of the sport in a similar way to how Monaco has in past years. The previous owners have, quite simply, been fools for not coming to this magnificent city before now.”
Meanwhile, sporting director Ross Brawn has said that the sport is looking for innovation in the coming seasons, with plans for six wheel cars and high rear wings a priority. More race sponsors and details will be announced in due course.
What do you think to Formula One’s 2019 calendar? Let us know in the comments below!
Cracques Villynerves is a much-celebrated expert on all things Formula One. With his Canadian heritage and dashingly good bleach blonde looks, the well respected writer joined the Lights Out family ahead of the 2018 F1 season.