F1 targeting ‘more balanced’ future calendar

Date published: February 8 2021 - Jon Wilde

Russian Grand Prix

Stefano Domenicali has insisted F1 will try to keep triple-headers off the calendar – even though three more have been set for this year.

The scheduling issues raised by the global health pandemic have made it necessary for grands prix to be concertinaed together, with the whole of the 17-race 2020 season squeezed into 24 weeks between July and December.

That included three triple-headers and the same number have been rostered for 2021, as things stand, although a flexible approach to the calendar will be needed as the pandemic continues to rage.

All of the triple-headers have been shoehorned into the second half of the season, after the summer break.

Belgium/Netherlands/Italy in late August/early September is the easiest trio logistically, but much greater challenges will be presented by Russia/Singapore/Japan on consecutive weekends and then, after a one-week gap, United States/Mexico/Brazil also back-to-back.

It will mean a punishingly hectic period in the European late summer/autumn for team personnel. But while Domenicali, the F1 CEO, said it was unavoidable this year, the plan is for such relentless spells to be avoided in future.

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Stefano Domenicali

“For sure it is something that is delicate and we need to manage it, but we don’t have to forget there are people that have lost their jobs, there are people who are suffering a lot, so I think it is better to put that into perspective,” said Domenicali, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“I know it’s difficult for all the families and all the people to stay out and work hard, but on the other hand we need to respect all the people that don’t have this opportunity.

“In the short term this year, that was the only way to try to keep the COVID effect as minimal as possible because if we would have done more races at the beginning, the risk would have been higher. Therefore that is the reason why we have moved to the second half of the season this situation.”

Domenicali thinks a more evenly-balanced calendar in the future should allow a better spread of races.

“We need to be more balanced and I really hope next year, when the situation should be more stable in that respect, we will avoid as much as possible the triple-headers because I understand what are the limits,” he added. “Also consider the logistic implications we [F1] have to handle.

“I would say this year, it’s a factor we need to digest and for the benefit of our business, it was the only way to progress with the objective we had to achieve this season.”

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