The F1 calendar continues to grow with new races | ET REALITY

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There are more Formula 1 races than ever, and next season there will be even more, with 24 races, the most in the history of the sport.

This year’s Formula 1 calendar, with 23 rounds, should have set a record, but the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was canceled due to extreme rain that devastated the region. That event, at the Imola circuit in Italy, will return on May 19, 2024 and will be the seventh race of the year.

Also returning to the calendar is the Chinese Grand Prix, which was last held at the Shanghai International Circuit in 2019. Formula 1 and the Chinese race promoter are under contract until 2025, and next year’s Grand Prix will be on the 21st. of April, the fifth of the season. career.

“Now there are a lot of people really interested in racing and Formula 1 who can’t wait to get back there (and so can I) for the Grand Prix,” said Zhou Guanyu of China, who drives for Alfa Romeo.

The other 22 Grands Prix on the 2023 calendar have been retained, 15 of them outside Western Europe, where most of the sport’s staff are based. The season will begin on March 2 in Bahrain and conclude on December 8 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“There is enormous interest and continued demand for Formula 1, and I believe this calendar strikes the right balance between traditional racing and new and existing venues,” said Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1.

There has been a move towards regionalizing the calendar to reduce travel and aid sustainability, and some events, especially in Japan, Azerbaijan and Qatar, have been moved on the calendar to facilitate travel.

However, there are still some uncomfortable journeys ahead. The three events in the United States remain separate, with Miami being the sixth round on May 5; Austin, Texas, round 19 on October 20; and Las Vegas round 22 on November 23. Australia, round three on March 24, is far from other events, but Japan is the next race, April 7. Canada, the ninth round on June 9, is, like Australia. , alone in the midst of a series of European events.

Some drivers are resigned to the extended hours.

“It’s too many (races) for me, but we have to deal with it,” Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said after the calendar was released in July. “I think it’s a little more logical at least the way it’s planned, so I guess it’s better for everyone.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris also highlighted the number of races.

“I would say 24 is a lot,” he said. “If I had to put a perfect number, I would say it’s probably closer to 20. For the lives of mechanics, engineers, everyone who travels, they are away from their families, children, etc., for so many days, “There are more days than us because the drivers are away, so it’s harder for them.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso first raced in a Grand Prix in 2001, when there were 17 events, six of which were outside Europe.

“I understand the benefits of 24 races, the reasons behind it, there is a lot of interest in Formula 1, a lot of demand, so it is good to go to new countries, new races and there is new income,” he said. “But I think for the team members 18 is a good number. More than 18-19 and you start to stress the mechanics, the media. From February to December everyone is on the defensive.”

Teams rotate staff members when possible to give them some free time. There is also a nine-day factory shutdown in winter, when sites working on cars must be mostly closed, as well as a 14-day break in August. Drivers and others are also aware of oversaturation, particularly with the addition of sprint races that have been held the day before the main race at six Grands Prix this year.

There is also a balance between preserving historic venues, such as Monaco and Silverstone in England, and seeking new ones. All Formula 1 events in the Middle East have contracts that extend into the 2030s, but many older European events have shorter deals and others, such as France and Germany, have been discontinued. Monaco and Italy have contracts that expire after 2025, while Belgium’s contract expires at the end of this year.

The sport “is looking to expand its calendar more and more, and you can see that a lot of the new venues that are coming to Formula 1 are quite commercial venues, like Miami or Las Vegas this year,” said Stoffel Vandoorne, who raced in 2017. and 2018 for McLaren and is now a reserve driver for Aston Martin and McLaren. “They are great places that they are going to go to, and I think that is fine, absolutely fine, but I still think that there needs to be a combination of both on the calendar, to retain these races, like Spa (in Belgium), like Suzuka (in Japan), those are proper old-school tracks.”

Adding races is nothing new. Saudi Arabia and Qatar joined in 2021, Miami in 2022 and Las Vegas this year. Each promoter pays a hosting fee to Formula 1, which increases their income, which in turn increases prize money for the teams.

According to the Concord Agreement, which unites Formula 1, the FIA ​​and the teams, the annual limit of Grand Prix is ​​24, but other venues are still being explored.

Formula 1 has been looking for a comeback for a long time To Africa while striving to have a round on most continents. The Kyalami circuit in South Africa last hosted a Grand Prix in 1993.

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