On Wednesday Supercars released the 2019 calendar and most race fans are less than impressed with the changes that have been made.
There are a number of big ticket items but the most controversial is the scheduling of the Sandown 500 after the Bathurst 1000 to make it the final event of the three-round Pirtek Endurance Cup.
Switching the Sandown date with the New Zealand November round at Pukekohe provides more time between the Tailem Bend round in South Australia and Bathurst to allow the teams to ship the cars to NZ instead of flying them in and out.
Apart from two years when the race was for Nations Cup cars, there has always been a precursor to the Bathurst race since 1968 either at Sandown, Phillip Island or Queensland Raceway.
It has always been considered as an essential lead-up event for teams to get the co-drivers up to speed, considering most are only part-time drivers.
It’s also an opportunity for crews to fine tune their pit stop routines and strategies under race conditions.
Now the teams will go into the biggest and most important race of the year without that opportunity and Supercars fans have vented their disgust in no uncertain way.
In addition the Bathurst race will move from its traditional first weekend in October to the second weekend to avoid AFL and NRL finals.
The second major change is the removal of the Sydney Motorsport Park round which brings the championship back to 15 events.
Their contract expires this year but there is a possibility this year’s successful night meeting could return in 2020.
Needless to say Sydney fans are up in arms considering Victoria will have four rounds and Queensland three plus a pre-season test day.
The Symmons Plains dates are April 5-7 with the Winton round only one week later which is a big risk bearing in mind the huge multi-car crash at Symmons last year.
If something similar was to happen (god forbid) how would the teams be able to ship the cars back to Victoria for repair to be at Winton by the following Thursday?
Barbagello Raceway in Perth will now host racing under lights on the Saturday night on the first weekend of May.
It will only be the third night race meeting in the history of the championship with Calder Raceway in Victoria and this year’s round at Sydney Motorsport Park the other two.
The Gold Coast round is scheduled for October 25-27 which clashes with the Australian Motorcycle grand prix at Phillip Island, but next weekend the Supercars commission is going to consider a single 500-kilometre race on the Sunday, starting early enough to allow fans to watch the GP which is later in the day at 4pm.
Next weekend two world championships could be decided even though in both cases there are a further three races to run after next weekend.
Four-time Formula One world champion (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017) Lewis Hamilton will go into the US grand prix in Austin with a lead of 67 points over Ferrari rival Sebastien Vettel.
Even if Vettel wins Hamilton only has to finish second to clinch the title and if Vettel was to finish second to someone else Hamilton only has to finish fifth or better.
Hamilton has won nine races this year including the last four in succession and there would have to a massive turnaround for Vettel and Ferrari to get up.
Honda rider Marc Marquez has won four Moto GP titles (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) and will go into the Japanese GP at Montegi with a 77-point lead over Ducati’s Andrea Doviziosa.
There are only 100 points left on the table so unless Marquez has some misfortune a fifth championship would make him equal with Australia’s Mick Doohan who won five consecutive titles in the premier class.
As long as Marquez leaves Japan with a 75-point lead he cannot be beaten for the championship.