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Domenicali targets 24 races in 2023

NEWS STORY
09/08/2022

F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali admits that he is seeking to expand the calendar to 24 races next season.

This year was meant to see the calendar hit 23 races for the first time ever, but the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix as a result of the invasion of Ukraine meant that there will be just 22.

However, with the pandemic in the rear view mirror and the sport winning over new fans by the day, which has led to increased interest from would-be promoters, F1 is looking at a bumper schedule for next year.

The current regulations limit the number of races to 24, and with the return of Qatar next season, together with the addition of Las Vegas, and possibly South Africa, the new calendar, which will be revealed in October looks set to be the sport's busiest ever.

However, it is understood that in the sport's pursuit of net zero emissions the calendar will be organised as such that the races are grouped regionally, thereby ending the practice of zig-zagging back and forth around the globe - even though this could see some events take place at an unfamiliar time of the year.

"We would like to keep the right flow in terms of efficiency around the world," he told investors in a conference call following the release of the financial results for the second quarter.

Asked about new promoters he insisted that the "demand is very, very high", adding, "we cannot say anything more than what we are saying because we are of course finalising all the details.

"For sure we expect to have a couple of races more than this year," he added, "but less than 25, that's for sure."

Despite the expanded calendar, it is anticipated that a number of existing, long-standing events could face the chop, with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps increasingly looking to be the most likely casualty.

Though a favourite among fans and drivers, the majestic track in the Ardennes does not fit with Liberty Media's desire to take F1 into the heart of cities,

Ironically, a number of classic European events are under threat, either from being dropped or forced to alternate with other venues, even though it was to Europe that F1 turned in its 'hour of need' during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, justifying the sport's 200m investment in a permanent facility in Las Vegas which will host the pit and paddock, Liberty president and CEO, Greg Maffei revealed that it is intended that the facility will be used for other activities throughout the year.

"Our goal was to have a facility which is not only magnificent for the race but has the opportunity to have ongoing activations and events at that facility when even when the race is not underway," he said.

"You should be thinking we can well manage this within the capital we have," he added, in response to the claim that the deal will put unnecessary demand on finances. "It's not going to drain us in any way and it's not going to forestall us from doing other actions."

With some still not convinced that Las Vegas is the right move for the sport, particularly in light of negativity surrounding F1's last visit in the early 80s, Domenicali admits that there will need to be a determined effort to convince the sceptics.

"It's important that we are working very hard in driving the engagement and getting the new city excited about Formula 1," he said. "We're going to come back with all the plans that we have in order to make sure that we want to bring F1 to life with emotion, passion.

"It is really important to increase the level of engagement that we expect from Vegas."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ToeKnee, 14/08/2022 1:40

"Agree with every comment. Starting watching when I lived in Germany as a teen in the late 70’s. I am American. Been on this sight since I can’t remember. Americans are killing F1, NASCAR repeat. No respect for the history of the sport. The great road tracks that created it. Thank God everyone still goes to Road America in North American racing, keeps me hopeful. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 09/08/2022 20:28

"Ka-ching is the sound that has replaced a screaming V10."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Greg, 09/08/2022 11:00

"The old classic tracks like Spa,Silverstone, Monza should always be in the calendar. The new tracks that they build as street circuits (FLORIDA) are not that great. Might look good on TV and attract the high flier set, but true fans like the older circuits for their challenges."

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4. Posted by Defiant, 08/08/2022 17:12

"It's so disappointing when someone you thought actually cared about the sport seems to be hell bent on killing it. Like Ross, Stefano is disregarding a real solid fan base in a chase for fickle fans. That is not a solid foundation for the future.
I know a lot of "fans" that only watch F1 via DTS, and as great as that maybe for Netflix, it's not good for F1.

Pitpass has been my homepage for over 2 decades (if my memory serves me well) but I have to admit, since the departure of the old old old old guard Bernie, my interest is waining. I watched every full race since the 80s right up until 2017 but since then ive missed a few, turning into a few more up until the 2022 season, where I've watched nothing more than YouTube highlights and read this great site. I wonder how many long time fans are doing the same these days? Then I start to wonder, at the rate Liberty and it's stooges are spoiling F1 (ie. by even contemplating ditching Spa), how long will it be before many many more follow me out the door?"

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5. Posted by Rock Doc, 08/08/2022 14:01

"Quality over quantity"

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6. Posted by JamesD, 08/08/2022 12:55

"I used to have a lot of respect for Stefano when he was at Ferrari and Lamborghini. Now he's taking F1's dollar it's all about money, money, money at the expense of exciting tracks and therefore races."

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7. Posted by Hobgoblin, 08/08/2022 12:14

"Fake beaches and plastic dolphins with a bunch of celebrities who are only there to be seen to be there, or an exciting circuit with dedicated fans who are there to see the racing?

Why is this even a consideration?

Leave Spa alone!"

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8. Posted by alvarezh3, 08/08/2022 11:01

"I wish he would also targeted a 24 car grid."

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