Rotating 24-race calendar ‘expected beyond 2021’

Date published: November 20 2020

Valtteri Bottas runs wide in his Mercedes during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

CEO of the Formula One Group Chase Carey says a 24-race calendar with rotating events could be on the way.

The 2020 Formula 1 season was set to feature 22 rounds, a figure which would have set a new record for the number of races in a season, but the global pandemic meant it was reduced to 17 with a revised calendar.

But 2021 is set to be even bigger than that with 23 rounds scheduled thanks to the addition of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, though one slot is currently vacant with the Vietnam Grand Prix cancelled for a second year.

And looking beyond that, Carey said there are plans for the calendar to grow to 24 races with some events rotating on and off the schedule.

“Looking beyond 2021, we continue to feel great about the excitement from locations around the world in hosting F1,” said Carey in a speech to a virtual meeting of investors, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“Many locations we raced at this year expressed great interest in new races and other countries have stronger than ever interest.

“We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years, and will probably rotate a few races so we will be able to accommodate a few new partners.

“But they will be limited as long-term partnerships continue to be our priority.”

Istanbul Park Grade 1 safety licence.

Carey added that the global pandemic has allowed Formula 1 to “strengthen” its relationships with partners as the plan remains for a 2021 calendar as close to normal as possible.

“We have not only maintained but strengthened the relationship with our promoters, we have completed renewals for next year on improved terms,” he confirmed.

“We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.

“We will also look to bring the Paddock Club back to our events. We have great plans for the Paddock Club, which were deferred this year, and expect it to be a significant contributor to our long-term growth.

“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus.

“In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.

“We have successfully weathered the challenges of the virus in 2020.

“We are planning for a world that begins to move forward in 2021, and have been clear with all our partners as it relates to those expectations.

“We have an even more exciting 2022 right behind it, with new cars and regulations to energise competition and action on the track, with a healthier business model to broaden the appeal of the sport.

“That being said, we recognise that we do not have a crystal ball as it relates to the virus, so we will be prepared for the unknown.

“But what we are certain of is that when the world moves past the virus that F1 will be prepared to pick up where we were before the virus interruption.

“We believe the world will value unique events live and on screens as much as ever, that countries will want a platform to connect with a world that is sick of being cooped up, and the unique combination of an incredible sport married to state of the art technology will uniquely position us for success.”

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