Eddie Jordan issues stern warning to F1 over ever-increasing calendar

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen lines on the grid for a restart. Australia April 2023

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton line up on the front row on the grid for a restart. Australia April 2023

Speaking from experience, former team owner Eddie Jordan has urged F1 and its owner Liberty Media to be very careful with its calendar expansion efforts.

Formula 1 is arguably more popular now than it ever has been, with soaring interest and record attendances meaning promoters around the globe want to bring the F1 circus to their venue.

And such demand has meant that Formula 1 is already at a record high of 23 rounds for the F1 2023 campaign, though it would have been 24 if it were not for the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix.

A 24-race schedule has been stated as the limit by Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali, though with the ex-Ferrari team boss having said that demand alone could create a calendar of over 30 races, it shows just how many tracks want a piece of the action.

Back when Jordan Grand Prix was operating from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s, 19 rounds was the highest number in any season which the team contested, and yet Eddie Jordan admitted on the Formula For Success podcast that he has regrets over how much time he spent away from his family.

So, he warned Liberty Media that they should not look to “flog people and horses until they’re dead” with the demands of a season calendar.

“I’ve become a really ardent family man in my older years,” Jordan told podcast host, former McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard.

“Because to be fair, this is worth mentioning on behalf of all the crews and all the people and everyone in Formula 1, but if I ever feel that I’ve let people down, it’s probably my family.

“Because from the mid ’80s until the early 2000s, I spent 18 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to keep Jordan afloat, trying to make success, trying to build up drivers, trying to make some money, trying to see the future, trying to do everything!

“And my kids, I remember when Zoe [daughter] said to me one day, which is really hard, she said, ‘dad, you’ve just turned up’. That’s funny, but it hurts.

“The problem is, with all the new races that are happening, and I’m saying this to everyone, I’m saying this to Liberty if they happen to listen, guys, be careful, because think about what you wish for, because very often, less is more. And I don’t think you can flog people and horses until they’re dead.”

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To Jordan’s point, it is certainly the team personnel and those working to bring the Formula 1 show together who will really feel the strain of this increasing workload.

But, the drivers of course are also subject to a more demanding schedule these days, especially now that the number of sprint races will increase from three to six in F1 2023, with a format tweak potentially coming for the first of those in Baku.

And reigning World Champion Max Verstappen has been by far the most vocal driver in regards to the growing calendar.

Verstappen though has not simply stated his displeasure. Instead, he has said several times that he will likely as a result look to leave Formula 1 when his long-term Red Bull contract ends after the 2028 campaign, at that point moving on to racing in other categories outside of F1. He said he could walk even sooner when the potential sprint tweaks were brought up.

Formula 1’s current boom period is unlikely to make the bosses think that they must scale back the schedule, though to Jordan’s point, the series must be very careful as it tests the boundaries of what is breaking point for personnel.