The latest version of the Formula 1 calendar has been issued by the F1 Group, although it is by no means certain that this will be the definitive schedule – although this is clearly the intention. In the current global circumstances, however, one cannot take anything for granted as international travel remains complicated, even if the British-based F1 teams still maintain their “elite sport” status, which makes movement easier.
The downside of that is that Brexit has made things more complicated as all the European team members working in the UK are going to have to go through the process of getting the required work permits, which is going to make it very complex for F1’s human resources people, who will have to wade through the paperwork required. There is also going to be a fair amount of red tape relating to the trucks that go backwards and forwards between the UK and Europe and one can expect at least some of them to end up being based on the Continent, to avoid the need for all this unnecessary pen-pushing.
The eagle-eyed will have noticed that the new calendar includes two Italian Grands Prix. One at Imola on April 18 and another at Monza on September 12. Such a thing is not unprecedented (in 1960 South Africa had two Grands Prix in a year: one on January 1, the other on December 27), but it is also very unlikely in the modern and litigious age of branding. It is logical to assume therefore that the first race will again be a Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna, as this is the region which will be paying for the race, presumably to promote the Motor Valley concept. The other races which will have different names than those listed will be Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom. These races will be known as the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the Mexico City GP and the British Grand Prix. The first two obviously relate to who is paying for the race, the third is just a matter of protocol. The British GP has – in the modern age – always been the British GP. However one can ask why that is the case as Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales, while the United Kingdom is Great Britain and Northern Ireland, plus a few other odds and ends out at sea.
Wars have been fought over such matters ad infinitum but motorsport seems to be blind to the fact that the national sporting authority is known as Motorsport UK and yet it organises the British GP and Rally GB. Until recently, in fact, there was a plan to hold Rally GB in Northern Ireland, which would have had the pedant constitutionalists all a-twitter… as that would be like holding the Luxembourg GP in Germany.
Whatever the case, I don’t suppose it will stop the Europeans calling the Silverstone event the English GP because it is just too complicated to under all the different names involved.
Anyway, it is interesting to note the change in F1 strategy, allowing regions to name national races. That was the case when there were two races in the same country, but generally the national GP was the national GP.
Ah well, money changes everything…