Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Great Circuits, good regulations and a close field in terms of performance are vital for an excellent Formula One season. The 2022 regulations look set to be an exciting, and likely effective change to help racing and to ensure the field will be more equally matched. Therefore, the main job left is to build the perfect calendar. Read along to find out what that is!
With the 2021 calendar confirmed for this year, many F1 fans were both excited and disappointed: excited to see the classics of Suzuka and Interlagos back, but disappointed not to see some of the surprise 2020 tracks return- Mugello, Nürburgring and Turkey to name a few.
I thought, why not make a calendar where I combine both- keep the classics, whilst re-energising the calendar with new and returning circuits. This calendar is designed to contain the very best FIA grade 1 tracks, not based off finances, but by where the best action and races can be enjoyed.
Double headers are used to reduce travel expenses, but triple headers are almost entirely avoided to prevent Formula One staff from being away from families for too long.
Furthermore, this calendar does continue Friday running in F1, but only 1 Free Practice session of an hour. This will help to prevent teams gaining too much data, and thus reducing the amount of predictable races we see, but still keeps the appeal high for fans to attend on Friday as well as at the weekend.
Pre-season Testing- Circuit De Catalunya, Spain. 28th February- 4th March
Pre-season testing will take place at a circuit which will not host a race, to avoid boring races stemming from teams having far too much data and knowledge of the track.
It will take place for 5 days, and have a setup to help lower teams catch up to the bigger ones. Teams who finished eighth, ninth and tenth from the previous season will have access to the full 5 days of testing from Monday to Friday. Seventh, sixth and fifth will have 4 days from Tuesday- Friday. Fourth, third and second will get 3, and first just 2. The extra chance for development for lower teams will help the field be closer come round one.
1.Bahrain International Circuit. 25th-27th March
First up, we have Bahrain as our season opener. Bahrain almost always guarantees great races, with great battles being common down to turn 1, sometimes continuing into turn 4 or even 5. The circuit also has the interesting, tricky braking zone of turns 9 and 10, and the great flowing section of turns 11-13. Bahrain is a great track, with plenty of overtaking opportunities, and therefore, will act as an exciting season opener. Unlike in 2021, pre-season testing will not take place here, ensuring no predictability as we head in to the first race of the new era of F1.
For round 2, we take a mere hour-long flight to a circuit you may not have heard of before, but definitely should do.
2. Kuwait motor Town. 1-3rd April
Now you may be confused here, with Kuwait never being mentioned as a potential country to host a grand prix. However, I really don't understand why this is the case. The long flat out run to turn 2 acts as an incredible overtaking opportunity, and the rest of the lap is a great mix of challenging, high to medium speed corners. This circuit could be one of the best places in the world to witness the awesome direction change Formula One cars are capable of, whilst having a layout which allows for overtaking opportunities. This track will be hard on the tyres, meaning exciting two or three stop races with a mixture of strategies.
3. Istanbul Park, Turkey. 15-17th April
Yes the 2020 Grand Prix was an excellent one here, but even with a regular track surface, this venue has the potential to host great races. Elevation changes create a great challenge for the drivers throughout the first sector, and we all enjoy what comes after this- the famous turn 8. We are also almost guaranteed good racing, with turns 12,14 and 1 serving as good opportunities to make moves on the car ahead.
Flying to Turkey without a near-by double header isn't great for transport costs, but it is, firstly, worth it for this track, and secondly, not too far away from the teams' European bases.
4. Monza, Italy. 29th April- 1st May
The temple of speed. Monza hosts the first grand Prix in Europe. Having Monza on the calendar is a no-brainer. The great action we witness from turns 1-4, the awesome high speed corners of the Lesmos, the Ascari chicane and Parabolica, as well as, of course, the Tifosi, are all great reasons for having this race.
We stay in Italy again for the next round.
5. Italian GP. 6th-8th May
Next up, I couldn't choose between Imola or Mugello, loving both tracks. However, due to me wanting to limit the number of races in the season to a reasonable number, I have decided to make round 5 the Italian GP, as a rotation between the two tracks. Both circuits are great in their own right, so the opportunity to enjoy them at least every other year is a necessity.
Imola did lack in terms of overtaking and on track action last season, and may well do so again this season. However, an earlier DRS activation point down the pit straight, and an extra zone before the pit straight into Rivazza will ensure plenty of overtaking in the 2022 reg cars.
6. Monaco. 20th-22nd May
Monaco retains it's spot on the same weekend as usual to ease the scheduling of the street race. This track may not be known for its on track action, but it fully deserve its spot as round 6. It provides a challenge to the drivers, and a qualifying session like no other. Furthermore, when we do see drivers pull brave moves off, like Verstappen in 2018 and Leclerc in 2019, it is very cool. With the slightly narrower 2022 cars, a little more overtaking may be a possibility too. 20 Monacos on the calendar would be awful, but this circuit as a once a year special occasion must be here to stay. It is unique, providing a grand prix weekend experience like no other.
7. Magny-Cours, France. 27th-29th May
A French GP is a must, to ensure Gasly, Ocon and Alpine have a home race in 2022, but there is no way I am having it at Paul Ricard. Instead, thankfully Magny-Cours is a still an FIA Grade 1 circuit, meaning I will be taking the no-brainer decision of moving the French GP back here. Magny-Cours hosted some awesome racing back in the day, and to see modern F1 cars fly through the opening turns of the lap and through the high speed chicanes of turns 6-7 and 10-11 would be an absolute treat! The long straight down to the heavy breaking zone of the turn 5 hairpin, followed by the opportunity for switch backs down the straight on the run to turn 7 will provide ample chances to overtake.
8. Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal. 3rd-5th June
We saw Portimao's first appearance on the calendar last year and were not disappointed, yet unfortunately it is not planned to return this season. The fast first turn and the severe elevation changes make the track enjoyable to watch. With that, it is the best alternative to a Spanish grand Prix. It facilitates more overtaking than what we would see in Catalunya and Jerez, and is effectively just a better version of Motorland Aragon with more elevation change. It will be a shame to not have a Spanish grand prix both for the huge Spanish fan base and Alonso and Sainz, however the Portuguese grand prix just over the border should suffice as perhaps an Iberian Grand prix that can be a home race for both countries.
9. Spielberg, Austria. 17th-19th June
This one is perhaps the most underrated circuit on the calendar, being easily in my top six favourites. It provides so much good racing without fail every year, with battling into the hairpins of turns 3 and 4 common, as well as good action occasionally also seen at turns 1 and 6. Coupled with this, the medium-high speed turns of the middle and last sector are awesome to watch the cars go through.
Following this action-packed Sunday afternoon, we head across the border to Germany.
10. German GP. 24th- 26th June
Again, like with Italy, I am unable to choose between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim, so I take the easy choice and opt to rotate these, with each track hosting a grand prix every other year. Hockenheim has proven its ability to host classics frequently in mixed weather conditions. With that, overtaking is frequent through turns 6,7 and 8, and Mobil 1 (turn 11) is one of my favourite turns on the calendar.
Nürburgring needed to share German GP duties, however. It performed far better than I thought it would last season, proving it will be a great track for the 2022 cars. The final chicane and the first couple of corners within the Mercedes Arena host great overtaking chances on a track with such a great history.
11. Zandvoort, Netherlands. 8th- 10th July
Finally, we will see the long awaited return of Zandvoort this season. It is likely to be reasonably difficult to overtake here this season, but despite this, it should not be counted out as a great track for the 2022 regulations which will allow for better on track action. The final banked curve will ensure the first turn is a viable overtaking spot. However, what sells this track as a must for the round 11 spot is the awesome, high speed excitement that turns 5-9 will most certainly provide.
Not to mention, the atmosphere will be incredible, reaching Tifosi levels of noise and passion. We see it everywhere the Dutch travel to cheer on Max Verstappen, but imagine how sensational it will be with it exclusively being those cheering on the number 33 driver in the Netherlands itself.
Following this, we take a 3 hour car journey to perhaps the most famous circuit of them all.
12. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. 15th- 17th July
We head to this classic track in mid-July, to enjoy the 7 kilometres that behold Eau Rouge and Radillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont. Spa is perhaps the circuit I am most excited to watch in 2022. Currently, overtaking relies largely on the DRS passes down the Kemmel straight. However, with the cars better able to follow each other, we are likely to see more moves into the bus stop chicane, la source and Eau Rouge. Therefore, the abundance of overtaking should be more varied and interesting.
13. Kymi Ring, Finland. 29th-31st July
Yes, that's right, another new circuit! A further new edition to freshen up the calendar comes in the form of the Kymi Ring, opened in 2019. This is a track which will not only finally give Raikonnen and Bottas a home race, but one which will provide an exciting new challenge for the drivers. Similarly to Magny-Cours, the lap opens with a combination of high speed turns that F1 cars would take at jaw-dropping speeds. The long run up to turn 5 would aid overtaking, and the second half of the lap would be a really interesting technical challenge both for the drivers and the engineers setting up the cars.
After plenty of excitement to end the first half of the season, with incredible classic, returning and new tracks on the calendar, we take a 4 week break. Within this, for the first 2 weeks factories will be closed and R&D banned, to ensure staff get some time off. Then, we are off to the last grand prix in Europe.
14. Silverstone, United Kingdom. 26th- 28th August
An obvious choice. Silverstone is a circuit which almost always delivers. It has a great layout of unique, challenging low, medium and high speed turns, many of which are classics like Copse, Maggots and Becketts, and Stowe. There are at least 5 overtaking areas, a sign of an incredible circuit, with moves being made at Village, Brooklands and Luffield, Copse, Stowe and the Club chicane all in recent years. There is no need for me to list the many great moments, dramas and races we have seen at this circuit. The main thing is that it is here to stay for 2022 (obviously) to create many more of those incredible moments and races.
15. Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Canada. 9-11th September
Following what I am sure would have been a marvellous British GP, we head to Montreal to enjoy watching in awe as the cars bounce over the kerbs of the final chicane and brush against the infamous wall of champions. This track creates a great dynamic for on-track battles, with the turn 10 hairpin, then the run to the final chicane, and then the run to the first corner all creating chances to make a move and challenge the car ahead.
This can create great dive bombs into the hairpin, bold side by side action through the fast chicane, or clever switch backs out of the chicane for moves into the first corner. Canada also has a short pit lane, which makes the breaking point later than usual at the final turn and cuts out turn 1, encouraging more pit stops as the drivers lose less time, thus inviting less boring one stop races.
16. US Grand Prix. 16th-18th September
Again, I couldn't choose between the only two FIA Grade 1 circuits in America, so have decided to rotate Formula One hosting duties between Indianapolis and COTA. The Texan track is an underrated circuit in my opinion, perhaps the seventh or eighth best on the calendar. It produces great action frequently and has an awesome set of fast, winding turns throughout sector one.
With that in mind, I still had to make it share the US GP spot with Indianapolis. Perhaps a circuit remembered for the infamous 2005 disaster of a Grand Prix, it is a track that would actually create brilliant racing, with cars slipstreaming each other through the banking of the final turn, fighting it out down the pit straight into the heavy braking zone of turn 1. The rest of the track has a layout which aids the easy following of the car in front, especially if the flat out left right chicane of turn 5 and 6 currently chosen for Indy Car is used instead of the turns 5-7 used back in the day for F1. At this venue, we will see an abundance of passing, perhaps even without the need for DRS!
17. Kyalami, South Africa. 30th September- 2nd October
Here on the Sebon F1 2022 calendar, we ensure F1 is truly a global sport, visiting all 5 continents (spoiler alert). That is not the main reason for coming here though. Seeing the F1 cars storm through the incredible turns of Sunset (turn 6), The esses of turns 8 and 9, as well as turn 15 'Cheetah' will be sights to behold. Not only will this track's edition to the calendar freshen up the schedule even more, it will do it in a remarkably thrilling way, on a track with excitement at every turn. Overtaking won't be easy here, but DRS from turns 11-13, and 16 down to turn 1 along the pit straight will mean it is certainly possible. F1 cars round here would be a dream, and one hell of a mouth-watering spectacle.
Note: Kyalami is currently only a grade 2 track, but talk of it possibly coming to the calendar shows that it could be easily upgraded to host F1.
18. Buddh International Circuit, India. 14th- 16th October
Now this a track we need back. For all my Indian readers, this one is for you guys! India needs a Grand Prix with its massive fan base for F1, and we all need a grand prix on this circuit. The flow of the lap from turns 5-13 is a dream, and the run down to, braking zone, and exit of turn 4 offers up the ultimate place to pass. This track had so much to offer, and this loss form the calendar is such a shame. Turns 5-7 act as an awesome flipped version of Imola's Acque Minerale, and turns 10 and 11 are a really unique challenge for the drivers that is great to watch! #IndianGP2022 please.
19. Suzuka, Japan. 21-23rd October
The home of Kimi Raikonnen's best ever Formula one race; the home of the awesome S Curves; the home of the ridiculously quick Degner curve; the home of the awesome challenge of Spoon curve, and of course the home of 130R. Suzuka is an incredible lap, full of incredible corners. It promotes overtaking with three long flat out sections into turn 1, 13 and 16, and has two heavy braking zones at the turn 11 hairpin and turn 16 chicane. If you need proof of overtaking at Suzuka, just watch Kimi Raikonnen at the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix!
This venue will also give the exciting young challenger, Yuki Tsunoda, a home race, which I am sure will be full with 100% attendance of passionate Japanese fans cheering their new superstar on.
20. Sepang, Malaysia. 28th-30th October
You knew it was coming. On the 28th October, we begin a weekend of action back in Malaysia, at another venue F1 should never have dropped from the calendar. This circuit was nothing short of perfect for close action and on track battles, and possesses two of the best corners to watch F1 cars attack in my opinion: turns 5 and 6. Man I miss Sepang... :(
21. Albert Park, Australia. 11th- 13th November
Next up, just as we will see in 2021, we have Australia towards the end of the season. With Bahrain as a more enjoyable season opener, I send Australia to the 21st spot on the calendar. Australia has a fun layout, and of course gives the Honey Badger a much needed home grand prix, even if it does always go wrong for him here. With tweaks to improve the track layout going ahead soon, it seems Australia will improve at catering for better racing.
The pit lane will almost definitely be widened by 2 metres, increasing the pit lane speed to 80KMpH, hopefully allowing for more two stop strategies. With this, turn 9-10 might be made flat out to make following the car in front easier, and turn 13 will be changed from a negative camber of two degrees to a positive one of five, in order to give drivers a better opportunity to make moves round the outside. Let's just hope the 2021 Australian GP can witness Ricciardo finally having a good home race.
22. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico. 25th-27th November
Our penultimate round. This is perhaps my least favourite track on my 2022 calendar, but it is a necessity that we give Sergio Perez and the Mexican fans a race here as the only Mexican Grade 1 circuit. Perez in a top car here will ensure the crowd create a Tifosi like atmosphere. I can only imagine the passion, emotion and excitement of being there if Sergio won! I do think the layout misses the old banked last turn, with the stadium section being cool, but ultimately a rather slow and boring complex of corners. Despite that, the track does create good racing, and will create an even better atmosphere.
23. Interlagos, Brazil. 2nd-4th December
The finale is back where it belongs- Sao Paulo. For too long we have had severely anti-climactic season finishers at the boring Yas Marina, but no more! Interlagos will host the finale, as one of the best tracks on the calendar. It creates incredible racing, with overtaking possible into every single turn, and with its success at never hosting a dull race (at least that I can remember)! We all know the finale should be here, and we all know it would be if it wasn't down to money. But this is the ultimate F1 calendar, where we don't ruin the finale for financial gain, but instead choose the best track available to give us the perfect send off into the winter break.
Yes, I am aware that 23 races is too much for one season- 20 being the ideal amount. However, we are likely to have 23 races per year by 2022 regardless, so I thought I would at least make sure they are the 23 best ones possible!
This calendar ensures almost every track is an exciting lap, where we can all enjoy seeing F1 cars pushed to the max, as well as being venues which promote great racing. The calendar also ensures every single driver other than Mazepin has a home race (if we count Portimao as an Iberian GP), ensuring almost every drivers' fan base gets a chance to enjoy the action trackside.
With so many great tracks, I was left with some difficult decisions. I had to drop Baku and Shanghai to make space for India and Kyalami, and was unable to add the Dubai Autodrome or Buriram, Thailand, to the calendar. Ideally, these 4 circuits would be on here too. China has produced some great races, for example Daniel Ricciardo's awesome victory in 2018, and Baku's long pit straight has created some incredible moments of action, including Daniel's triple overtake, Bottas pipping Stroll on the line for second, and the crash between the Red Bull team mates.
However, in my opinion, Sepang is basically just a better China with similar layouts, and Baku doesn't have much to offer other than the long straight and the unique, tight castle section of turns 8,9 and 10. Dubai could work well for F1, but Kuwait was the better choice for round 2, and there was only space for one of these.
Buriram definitely has potential to be a good F1 track too, and would give Albon a home race if he is able to make a comeback into F1. However the layout, whilst promoting overtaking, is nothing special or inspiring like many of the other circuits on here, and so doesn't quite make the cut. If we ever get to a point of craziness where we have 27 races in a season, these would be the extra four I add, but I hope for the sake of our social lives and the sanity of the teams, that this is never the case!
I hope you all enjoyed the article. Let me know on Twitter or Instagram, both @sebonf1, what you thought of my calendar. What tracks were you happy to see on the list, and which ones did I miss that I shouldn't have?
If you're interested, be sure to check out my improvements to the worst 4 circuits on the calendar, to see how Catalunya, Sochi, Yas Marina and Paul Ricard could have a better chance of making it onto my ultimate calendar.