BRITISH GRAND PRIX
Uncertainty over Silverstone’s ownership,
with Jaguar Land Rover attempting to buy
it, raises question marks. But Silverstone
did see off the challenge of Donington
Park, which landed the race for 2010 before running out of
cash. The escalating race-hosting fee is a commercial concern,
despite a 17-year deal that started in 2010.
MONACO GRAND PRIX
Aside from 1952-’ 54, Monaco has been
the jewel in the crown of the Formula 1
World Championship – aside from a
dispute over television rights that
temporarily led to it dropping off the 1985 calendar. Today,
it is unique in not having to pay a race-hosting fee.
The Indy 500 is still in rude health, not
that it has anything to do with grand prix
racing. It was an F1 World Championship
round from 1950-’ 60, as much as
anything to legitimize the “world” tag.
SWISS GRAND PRIX
The Swiss Grand Prix was staged at
part-cobbled Bremgarten for the first five
seasons of the World Championship. The
1955 race was cancelled in the wake of
the Le Mans disaster, when Switzerland banned road racing.
Bizarrely, the Swiss GP did make an appearance in the 1982
season, but it was held at Dijon-Prenois in France.
BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Spa-Francorchamps was on the original
calendar, and it’s still there, albeit in
truncated form and after stints at Zolder
and unloved Nivelles. The race walks a
tightrope and dropped off the calendar in both 2003 and ’06,
and recently lost its sponsorship deal with Shell. Its future is
hardly rock solid, especially with declining crowds.
FRENCH GRAND PRIX
The French is the oldest grand prix of all, having first been
held at Le Mans in 1906. Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand,
Le Mans and Paul Ricard all hosted World Championship races
prior to its switch to Magny-Cours. The race was last staged in
2008, with multiple revival attempts coming to nothing amid
continuing funding problems.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
The second of the two ever-presents, the
THE FATE OF THE ORIGINAL SEVEN
Italian GP’s future has been in the news in
recent years with Monza’s contract ending
after this season. Discussions for a
renewal stalled amid demands to invest in upgrades to parking
and access. Former San Marino GP host Imola, not seen on
the F1 calendar since 2006, has emerged as a credible
alternative and has the requisite FIA Grade 1 track licence.
The original F1 calendar in 1950 comprised seven grands prix. Their fortunes since have been mixed.
The French Grand Prix is the
world’s oldest national grand
prix, dating to 1906, but that
couldn’t save it from falling
off the calendar after 2008.