The multiple countries making a ‘big push’ to join F1’s ‘strained’ calendar

Henry Valantine
Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei pictured with FIA's Mohammed Ben Sulayem. F1 Formula 1.

Liberty Media's Greg Maffei pictured with FIA's Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has revealed there has been a “big push” by Thailand and South Korea to join the F1 calendar, as well as Indonesia holding interest at different times.

Maffei also revealed the sport’s commercial rights holders were “a long way down the road” with bringing F1 back to South Africa, but a deal did not materialise.

Greg Maffei reveals F1 calendar interest from several nations

Thailand’s prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, was a guest on the grid as the recent Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix while he was in Italy, with Maffei confirming the Southeast Asian nation is looking to join Formula 1.

F1 has already visited South Korea, the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam appearing on the calendar between 2010 and 2013, but the Liberty Media chief executive revealed the country is looking to bring the sport back to the country.

In explaining the logistics behind the current calendar, Maffei confirmed the sport is unlikely to go above its current race count of 24, given the “strains” it is putting on the teams.

“Yeah, I think it’s highly unlikely we’re going to go above 24,” Maffei told the Beyond the Grid podcast when asked about the limit of the calendar.

“Clearly there are strains at 24, and we’re working hard to try and reduce that.

“You know, putting the schedule together to these circuits, you’re trying to match several constraints.

What does the F1 calendar look like and how long will each circuit appear on it?

👉 F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

👉 F1 circuit contracts: How long is each circuit’s place guaranteed on the F1 calendar?

“There are some places which always happen at the same time. In the US Memorial Day is Monaco. Silverstone is always around July 4th, again, picking the US holidays, Monza around Labor Day, again, using the US holidays, so it’s hard to move those.

“So you’re trying to optimise for sales, you’re trying to optimise for distance, you’re trying to optimise for weather, and you have these historical venues at historic times.

“So that’s putting that calendar together, 24 probably puts us at the limit.”

Regarding any additional entrants, Madrid has already been confirmed as taking on the mantle of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026, though Barcelona officials are looking to keep a race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya beyond that year.

As for looking further afield, Maffei was asked where he would like to see the sport head next – and revealed where interest has emerged from other markets.

“Well, I think we have we certainly tried to do one in Africa, have not been successful, it would be great to put one there,” he said.

“We went a long way down the road with South Africa. We were not able to put that deal together, we were not able to make that work, but continue to look.

“There’s a lot of demand in other places, including Southeast Asia, a big push by South Korea, a big push by Thailand. Indonesia has had interest at various times.”

When it was put to him that other circuits would have to potentially make way, Maffei explained that rotation could be a solution, or other circuits may drop off the schedule.

He clarified: “You could see rotation, you could see there are places that are more or less likely to stay on the calendar.”

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