Then and Now: Number of races in an F1 Season

1

The 2019 F1 calendar has been announced, and the 21 races on it are exactly the same as the 2018 season.  This is a very rare occurrence in F1.

When the World Drivers Championship started in 1950 there were just seven races on the calendar:

Great Britain
Monaco
Indianapolis
Switzerland
Belgium
France
Italy

For 1951 races in Germany and Spain were added, while Monaco was dropped, leaving eight races in the season.  Then in 1952 a race in the Netherlands was added at the expense of the Spanish Grand Prix.  Argentina was added in 1953, bringing the calendar up to nine events.  While in 1954 Spain was once again back on the list, replacing the Netherlands.  1955 saw the return of Monaco but the races in Spain, France and Germany were dropped returning the calendar to just seven events.

A year later in 1956 France and Germany returned, but the Netherlands was dropped for an eight race season.  1957 remained at eight races, but Pescara was added at the expense of Belgium.  This was dropped again in 1958, but Belgium returned along with the Netherlands and new races in Portugal and Morocco giving an eleven race season.  For the final season in the 1950s, a road circuit was added in the USA alongside the Indianapolis 500, while the events in Argentina, Belgium and Morocco were dropped to end the decade with a nine race season.

1960 started the second decade of the sport with a ten race season:

Argentina
Monaco
Indianapolis
Netherlands
Belgium
France
Great Britain
Portugal
Italy
USA

1961 saw Indianapolis finally being dropped from the World championship, it was never run to the same regulations, and teams and drivers didn’t cross over between the two events.  Also dropped were Argentina and Portugal, while Germany returned, giving eight events that year.  In 1962 South Africa was added to give a nine race championship, while in 1963 Mexico was added to bring it up to ten events.  The race in South Africa had been held in the last week of December, but slipped into the first week of January in 1965, so it wasn’t held in 1964, it was replaced by a race in Austria to maintain ten races in the season.  Austria was then dropped in 1965 as South Africa returned.  In 1966 South Africa was dropped, leaving a nine race season.  It returned in 1967 along with a race in Canada to bring the championship up to eleven races.1968 saw Spain return to the calendar, for a record twelve race season.  Belgium was dropped in 1969 to end the decade with eleven races in the season.

In 1970 the calendar was up to thirteen races with the return of Belgium and Austria:

South Africa
Spain
Monaco
Belgium
Netherlands
France
Great Britain
Germany
Austria
Italy
Canada
USA
Mexico

For 1971 both Belgium and Mexico were dropped bringing the season back to eleven events. In 1972 the Netherlands was dropped, but races returned in Argentina and Belgium to leave the season at twelve races.  For 1973 the championship expanded to fifteen races for the first time, adding events in Brazil, Sweden and returning to the Netherlands.  In 1974 the same number of events were held, in the same countries, however the circuits changed.

At that period the British Grand Prix alternated between Silverstone (73) and Brands Hatch (74), the Belgian race changed between Zolder (73) and Nivelles (74) and the French Grand Prix changed from Paul Ricard (73) to Dijon(74). In 1975 Canada was dropped, leaving just fourteen races for the year.  In 1976 Argentina was dropped, but Canada returned along with new races in USA-Long Beach and Japan, bringing the total to sixteen Grands Prix for the season.  In 1977 Argentina returned to increase the number of races to seventeen.  In 1978 the number returned to sixteen as Japan was dropped, and for 1979 the Swedish race disappeared leaving just fifteen events in the championship.

In 1980 the number of events further dropped to fourteen with Spain being removed from the calendar:

Argentina
Brazil
South Africa
USA-Long Beach
Belgium
Monaco
France
Great Britain
Germany
Austria
Netherlands
Italy
Canada
USA

In 1981, the USA Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was dropped, replaced by USA-Las Vegas, while a new race at San Marino was added to bring the championship up to fifteen events.  1982 saw the series return to ‘Switzerland’ with the race held in Dijon, a third race in the USA at Detroit was added replacing Spain and South Africa returned replacing Argentina bringing the calendar up to sixteen events.   For 1983 the Swiss Grand Prix was replaced by a European Grand Prix (Brands Hatch), while the USA-Las Vegas event was dropped, reducing the championship to fifteen races.

In 1984 USA-Dallas replaced USA-Long Beach and a race was added in Portugal, the European race was held at the Nurburgring.  In 1985 the USA-Dallas race was dropped, replaced by a race in Australia.  The European race was held at Brands Hatch.  For 1986 the number of races remained at sixteen, but Europe, South Africa and the Netherlands were dropped, replaced by Spain, Hungary and Mexico.  In 1987 Japan replaced Canada on the calendar, while in 1988 Canada returned replacing Austria.  1989 was the second time the races were held in the same countries as the previous year, however the venue for the USA race changed from Detroit to Phoenix.

In 1990 the sixteen countries were again the same:

USA
Brazil
San Marino
Monaco
Canada
Mexico
France
Great Britain
Germany
Hungary
Belgium
Italy
Portugal
Spain
Japan
Australia

However the venue for the Brazilian race had changed from Jacarepagua (89) to Interlagos (90).  In 1991 again the list of countries were the same, but the French Grand Prix changed from Paul Ricard (90) to Magny Cours (91).  !992 saw South Africa return to the calendar as the USA was dropped.  1993 saw Mexico drop from the championship to be replace by the European race at Donnington.  For 1994 the South African Grand Prix was dropped again replaced by the Pacific Grand Prix at TI Aida, while the European round was held at Jerez.  In 1995 Argentina returned bringing the calendar back up to seventeen races, the European Grand Prix was held at the Nurburgring.

In 1996 the Pacific Grand Prix was dropped and the venue of the Australian race changed from Adelaide to Melbourne leaving the calendar at sixteen races again.  For 1997 the European Grand Prix moved to Jerez, while the event at the Nurburgring became the Luxembourg Grand Prix bringing the total number of races to seventeen.  The following year, 1998, the European Grand Prix was dropped.  The title of the race at the Nurburgring changed back to the European Grand Prix in 1999, and Argentina was dropped in favour of Malaysia as F1 expanded to the East.

In 2000 the World Championship returned to Indianapolis, but under F1 rules this time and on a road course, the championship was then at seventeen rounds:

Australia
Brazil
San Marino
Great Britain
Spain
Europe
Monaco
Canada
France
Austria
Germany
Hungary
Belgium
Italy
USA
Japan
Malaysia

In 2001 the order of the events changed, but all the circuits remained on the calendar for the first time in the history of the sport.  These same seventeen races remained on the calendar in 2002 as well.  In 2003 Belgium was dropped from the calendar, leaving just sixteen races.   It returned in 2004 along with China and Bahrain as F1 continued to explore new markets, Austria was dropped and the season was now up to eighteen races.  Turkey was added in 2005 to increase the calendar to nineteen Grands Prix.

Financial difficulties again prevented Belgium from appearing on the calendar in 2006.  Belgium returned again in 2007, but San Marino and Germany were dropped, although the European round still continued at the Nurburgring, making seventeen races that year.  The USA was dropped in 2008 while Germany (Hockenheim) returned and Singapore was added.  The European round moved to Valencia giving a total of eighteen events that year.  In 2009 Canada and France were dropped, Germany changed from Hockenheim to Nurburgring and Abu Dhabi was added, leaving the decade with seventeen races.

For 2010 Canada returns and is joined by Korea to bring the season up to nineteen races:

Bahrain
Australia
Malaysia
China
Spain
Monaco
Turkey
Canada
Europe
Great Britain
Germany
Hungary
Belgium
Italy
Singapore
Japan
Korea
Brazil
Abu Dhabi

In 2011 Bahrain is dropped and replaced in the nineteen race championship by India.  2012 saw the departure of Turkey, but the return of Bahrain and a new venue in the USA (Austin) for a record 20 races in the season. 2013 saw the European round at Valencia dropped, with no new additions.  2014 saw India and Korea dropped (not all of the Eastern expansion proved to be successful) while Austria returned and Russia was added.  In 2015 Germany was dropped while Mexico returned, the season remaining at nineteen events.  Germany returned in 2016 together with the European Grand Prix, although at a new venue – Baku.  For the first time the season reached 21 races.

Germany was dropped again in 2017 and Baku was renamed Azerbajan, reducing the series to twenty events.  Finally this year Germany returned to the calendar, bringing the total back to 21 Grands Prix.  If the draft 2019 calendar is approved, it will be the same 21 races as this year, only the third time in the history of the sport the calendar has remained unchanged.  Don’t expect this to be a new period of stability though, as new venues are always wanting to be added to the calendar, and some of the older venues are having difficulties in paying the fees to host the races.

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Member

Phew! Great piece of work Dave.
The numbers of teams and cars that would have competed at those different tracks over the decades would have varied massively too. I’m guessing that it wasn’t until Bernie E took charge that it became compulsory for every team to compete in every race of the season.
Also the push to get F1 races into new regions is a relatively new phenomenon, made possible by Bernie’s avarice, Nations with loads of discretionary money, TV coverage, and amazing air freight logistics.