The 2024 F1 calendar is likely to feature a record-breaking 24 races but the series admits the growing schedule is putting a strain on staff.
“We have a calendar, some of which [for] historical reasons, [has] gotten to 24,” said president of F1 owners Liberty Media last week. “It does drain people and there’s a lot of travel.”
However the growth of the schedule is only part of what makes F1’s calendar so gruelling. The structure of the calendar means teams repeatedly have to travel unnecessarily long distances. The current schedule includes three separate return trips across the Atlantic ocean.
George Russell recently revealed in a conversation with tennis championship Novak Djokovic that drivers are encouraging F1 to improve the organisation of its calendar to reduce the amount of travel they need to do. Making the layout of the schedule more efficient in this way promises other benefits, such as reducing the sport’s carbon emissions.
However F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said achieving that is not straightforward due to the competing needs of different race promoters. “Of course every single promoter has some reasons to have a certain weekend, a certain opportunity,” he said.
“We try to make sure that in the year after year we have a quite leaner approach, as much as we can, in order to minimise the movement. Because of course we have a very ambitious target with our carbon neutrality 2030, that has a big effect.
“We are a world championship, we are not doing it in the one single region, we’re moving it all around the world. So we take that very seriously.”
He pointed out that organisers of races which are grouped closely together geographically prefer to be separated on the calendar to reduce competition for ticket sales.
“We’re going to try to be as effective as we can in order to minimise the ups and downs from different regions, different countries,” said Domenicali. “Of course, knowing that we cannot have, for example, four races in a row in the same continent because we’re going to have a problem commercially and for other reasons.
“But for sure there is a lot of attention in this subject in order to develop the calendar the best way that we can.”
However he stated the calendar is likely to grow again in 2024. “There’s no secret that next year the objective is to have 24 races.”
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