The 2014 Formula One calendar was released just over a week ago, with a record 22 races penciled.
It starts in Australia on March 16. Korea, New Jersey, Russia and Mexico are provisional races that have yet to be confirmed, with New Jersey and Russia hosting their first race on newly built circuits.
Red Bull's Christian Horner has said that 22 races is 'beyond the limit' of what is acceptable. The Red Bull Ring in Austria will host a F1 race this season also, to further increase the number of races higher than Horner's preference of twenty races.
22 races is simply too much. F1 has diluted the cost of F1 to make it cost-effective to run constructors but still expects the current eleven teams to make a transatlantic flight from Monte Carlo to New Jersey on back to back weekends and to Montreal the weekend after that.
Here are a few of my suggestions to fix F1 from next season:
1. 18 Race Calendar
There has been a massive increase in Asian circuits in recent seasons after the influx of European tracks, but many have fallen off the calendar—most famously Turkey and it's superb Turn 8 quadruple apex corner.
India will miss the 2014 season in order to get a slot it the early races from 2015 on, but tracks like Valencia, Barcelona, Nurburgring and Hockenheim are now race sharing in alternate years.
Tracks like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia and China are relatively new to the F1 calendar, with the Malaysian Grand Prix's yearly storm delaying GP's almost until dusk. There are too many tracks that haven't been thought out, such as Singapore's chicane, which has zero run off areas.
There are only a few "elite" tracks that should never be taken off the F1 schedule:
Spa, Monza, Interlagos, Monte Carlo and Suzuka are five tracks that I will always want to see in F1.
Silverstone, Barcelona, Montreal, Hungaroring, Albert Park are in my second tier and I have my issues with what Silverstone have done in recent years.
Obviously, there have been opportunities for circuits to join the F1 calendar, such as Austin, which looks to be a mainstay in the years to come.
Austin, Shanghai, Nurburgring, Singapore, Yas Marina, New Jersey, Mexico City and Sepang would be my final eight tracks to complete my 18 race schedule.
2. Change The Points System
The current points structure is something that resembles NASCAR or Indy Car, and while I understand that F1 wants to give points to more than the first six over the line, this current structure is just too far from the last incarnation.
Ten drivers should receive points:
20, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point.
That one point for 10th could be worth millions to a Marussia or Caterham.
3. Change Qualifying
I hate qualifying, I'd like to make this clear very quickly. I loved the sixty minute, twelve lap limit that F1 previously had. They should go back to something similar to that.
With the ADHD revolution, people would switch off after 20 minutes of watching the lower teams set a time that someone like Vettel or Hamilton will beat by over three seconds in the later stages of the race.
I'd like to see something like a forty five minute qualifying session with a limit on the laps. Even two thirty minute sessions would spark some intrigue. I don't like MotoGP's approach of splitting the field up depending on their practice times but I like their thirty minute shootout idea.
4. Change The Scheduling
This almost seems too obvious, having two races seven days apart in Monte Carlo and New Jersey is absurd. Start in Australia then do the Asian tracks, have a 3 week break then go to Europe and after another break finish the season in the Americas, ending in Brazil in November.
16 March: Australia (Melbourne)
30 March: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
13 April: Singapore (Marina Bay)
27 April: China (Shanghai)
11 May: Malaysia (Sepang)
25 May: Japan (Suzuka)
15 June: Monaco (Monaco)
29 June: Hungary (Budapest)
13 July: Britain (Silverstone)
27 July: Spain (Barcelona)
10 August: Germany (Nurburgring)
24 August: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
31 August: Italy (Monza)
21 September: Canada (Montreal)
12 October: Grand Prix of America (New Jersey)
19 October: USA (Austin)
2 November: Mexico (Mexico City)
16 November: Brazil (Interlagos)
Three distinct sections spread over eight months. A Spa-Monza double header is something that should appeal to any F1 fan and putting the two US races back to back makes sense too.
That's my four-point plan to saving F1.