Motorsport’s Asian pull and release

A couple of years ago I wrote about the great shift in F1 towards including more and more Asian tracks – at the expense of the historical European tracks. Today I’m bringing you an update, to include alongside F1 both MotoGP and WRC – and a few new insights.


In F1, we can see that there has been a proliferation of new Asian tracks (all Tilkedromes) during the 2000s. In 2009, with the absence of the Canadian GP, the geocenter of all F1 venues moved way to the East, to longitude 43.85. Even when the Curicuit Gilles Villeneuve came back a year later, the addition of the Korean, and a year later, the Indian Grand Prix kept the geocenter past the 43rd longitude. However, both of these GPs were short-lived, and by 2017 we moved back to longitude 27 – even with the addition of the Azerbaijan and Russian Grands Prix. Furthermore, the 2018 F1 season will see the reintroduction of the French GP into the calendar – further dragging the geocenter back towards Europe.


In MotoGP, the shift has not been so dramatic – or we could say that the shift to the East started already in the 1990s. In 1989, the geocenter of all MotoGP Grand Prix circuits was at longitude 13, just off the coast of Siciliy. By 1992, this moved to 31.88, with the addition of two new track in South Africa and Malaysia, as well as the (temporary) removal of Laguna Seca on the US West Coast. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, two Japanese and a Chinese track made sure the geocenter stays eastward of the 30th longitude. However Shanghai did not any more races after 2008 and Suzuka already got dropped in 2003. After a shuffle of the North and South American circuits, and the recent re-addition of the Indonesian GP to the calendar, the geocenter was longitude 23.79 in 2017 – almost the same as for F1.


Finally, in Rally, the calendar has not changed since the 2015 season and its geocenter sits at longitude 5.2. However, it has been moving around quite a bit, especially in the 1980s and 1990s – being as far East as longitude 35.11 and as far South as latitude 19.6 in 1996. This is mostly due to existence of stages in Kenya, Indonesia, Argentina and Australia. However only the two latter remain today and the addition of an American stages dragged the geocenter back up Northwest. OUt of the 3 global motorosports, The World Rally Championship is perhaps the most Europe-focused with only a handful of stages being organized on other continents.

Thanks for reading – see you at the next datawizardry 😉

The data source for this visualization was the Wikipedia: F1, MotoGP, WRC. The data has been processed into JSON format with this IPython notebook, with help from pandas. The universities has been placed on the world map using topojson, after being geocoded by geopy using the MapQuest and Google Maps V3 APIs. the  The visualizations have been done entirely in d3.js and the svg language. The main outcomes are dynamic maps depicting the shifts of the geocenters in F1 (GIFinteractive), MotoGP (GIFinteractive) and WRC (GIFinteractive). If you liked this post or have any questions or thoughts, Like, Share, Comment, and Subscribe!



Published by Dénes Csala

AI | DATA | ENERGY | SYSTEMS researcher | thinker | modeler | blogger | traveller

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