Formula One - Grands Prix

Grands Prix

See also: List of Formula One Grands Prix

The number of Grands Prix held in a season has varied over the years. Only seven races comprised the inaugural 1950 world championship season; over the years the calendar has almost tripled in size. Though the number of races had stayed at sixteen or seventeen since the 1980s, it peaked at nineteen in both 2005 & 2010. The 2011 season was expected to have 20 races, however there were only 19 races as the Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed, then later cancelled due to political disputes in the country. The 2012 season has 20 races.

Six of the original seven races took place in Europe; the only non-European race that counted towards the World Championship in 1950 was the Indianapolis 500, which, due to lack of participation by F1 teams, since it required cars with different specifications from the other races, was later replaced by the United States Grand Prix. The F1 championship gradually expanded to other non-European countries as well. Argentina hosted the first South American grand prix in 1953, and Morocco hosted the first African World Championship race in 1958. Asia (Japan in 1976) and Oceania (Australia in 1985) followed. The twenty races of the 2012 Formula One season are spread over the continents of Europe, Asia, Oceania plus North and South America.

Traditionally each nation has hosted a single Grand Prix, which carries the name of the country. If a single country hosts multiple Grands Prix in a year they receive different names. For instance, a European country (such as Britain, Germany or Spain) which has hosted two Grands Prix has the second one known as the European Grand Prix, while Italy's second grand prix was named after nearby republic of San Marino. Similarly, as two races were scheduled in Japan in 1994/1995, the second event was known as the Pacific Grand Prix. In 1982, the United States hosted three Grands Prix.

The Grands Prix, some of which have a history that pre-dates the Formula One World Championship, are not always held on the same circuit every year. The British Grand Prix, for example, though held every year since 1950, alternated between Brands Hatch and Silverstone from 1963 to 1986. The only other race to have been included in every season is the Italian Grand Prix. The World Championship event has taken place exclusively at Monza with just one exception: in 1980, it was held at Imola, host to the San Marino Grand Prix until 2006.

One of the newer races on the Grand Prix calendar, held in Bahrain, represents Formula One's first foray into the Middle East with a high-tech purpose-built desert track. The Bahrain Grand Prix, and other new races in China and Turkey, present new opportunities for the growth and evolution of the Formula One Grand Prix franchise while new facilities also raise the bar for other Formula One racing venues around the world. In order to make room on the schedule for the newer races, older or less successful events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped from the calendar, such as those in Argentina, Austria, Mexico, France and San Marino.

Even more recent additions to the calendar include the Singapore Grand Prix which, in September 2008, hosted the first night race ever held in Formula One, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which hosted the first day-to-night race in November 2009, the Korean Grand Prix, first held in October 2010 and the Indian Grand Prix, first held in October 2011.

The United States Grand Prix will return in Austin, Texas at the new Circuit of the Americas from 2012 to 2021, the Grand Prix of America will be held in New Jersey from 2013 at the Port Imperial Street Circuit and a Russian Grand Prix will be hosted in Sochi from 2014 to 2020 at a circuit at the new Sochi Olympic Park.

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