Christian Horner reveals calendar ‘trick’ F1 plays on teams every year

Henry Valantine
Christian Horner smiling. Bahrain, March 2023.

Christian Horner smiling. Bahrain, March 2023.

Christian Horner has said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali will “play the same trick every year” on Formula 1 teams regarding the increasing number of races on the calendar.

A record 23-race schedule is already in place for this season, which is down from the planned 24 following the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix in April – along with six sprints to tie into the campaign.

The ever-increasing demands being placed on the Formula 1 teams and drivers is becoming a hotter topic in the sport, with teams beginning to utilise staff rotation where possible to level out the workload across a season so as to not give staff members burnout over the course of a season.

But given that the number of races has often gone up one by one over the years, the Red Bull team principal has explained exactly what happens behind closed doors as the teams look to try and keep calendar staples.

And with the new venues and cities that are added to Formula 1 on an annual basis, with Las Vegas and Qatar having been placed onto the calendar this year, he admitted it’s “difficult to say no” to the sport’s bosses when they add more races to the schedule.

All of that has added up to an “insane” calendar in Horner’s view, and he would rather see competition for existing places on the schedule rather than continued expansion.

“About 18?” Horner said with a laugh to the Financial Times when asked for what his ideal number of races in a season would be.

“But the problem is, Stefano turns up and they play the same trick every year and it’s like, ‘Oh, maybe we can’t go to Silverstone or Monza’s looking a bit wobbly’, and so on.

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“And so he says: ‘Well, look, we can’t lose Monaco, we can’t lose Monza, we can’t lose Silverstone.’

“And then he’ll say: ‘What about Las Vegas?’ Okay, alright, we’ll go to Vegas. ‘What about Miami?’ Yeah, alright. We’ll go there too. And, you know, they just keep coming up with great venues and great races and it’s difficult to say no.

“But you do reach a point where you wonder where you get saturation and 23 is an insane amount of racing and mileage that we have to cover in a season.

“I think it’s better to have competition for the existing venues [rather] than just keep adding more and more because you do get to a point of breaking point, which I don’t feel we’re that far from.”

The bulky calendar spells good news for Red Bull’s statistics in F1 2023 though, the team having won all five grands prix so far, four of those involving one-two finishes, as they continue to school the distant chasing pack.