Formula 1 warned fans will begin to only tune in for the race ‘highlights’

Michelle Foster
McLaren driver Oscar Piastri is pinched at La Source. Belgium July 2023. F1 News

The drivers pile into La Source at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps Belgium July 2023.

Former F1 driver Marc Surer has warned Formula 1 bosses if they continue to expand the calendar, they risk fans tuning out.

This season Formula 1 has 22 races on the calendar after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled at the 11th hour due to floods in the Imola region.

Next year there’ll be 24 as China is expected to make a comeback, with the circus heading to the Shanghai International Circuit for round five.

‘Anything over 20 F1 races is too much’

With the season beginning in February and ending in Abu Dhabi in early December, it will mark the longest-ever period of racing to go along with the longest calendar.

Surer is not impressed.

“Anything over 20 is too much for me,” he told the Formel1.de YouTube channel. “If you have a grand prix every weekend, then it’s nothing special anymore.”

“And if you drive every weekend and then also have the sprint on Saturday, then you’re oversaturated. That’s never good.”

The 71-year-old Swiss fears it will have fans tuning out, as he did with NASCAR when the American racing series went above 30 races.

“And that’s exactly how it will be with Formula 1,” he declared, adding that fans will only watch the “highlight” races such as Monaco “even though that’s the most boring race of the year. But still, you watch it, it’s a tradition.”

Although Surer says it is “understandable” that Formula 1 wants to capitalise on its growing popularity, he reckons the solution to the expanding calendar is for venues to rotate races.

“Especially in the Middle East, where we already have so many races, you can really skip one in a year and then skip the other the next year,” he said.

“You say, ‘Okay, you get a grand prix, and if it goes well, then in two years,’ That would be a solution that would be acceptable to everyone.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Seven chaotic F1 race weekends: Missile strikes, COVID-19, track invaders and more

Revealed: The top 10 drivers with the most F1 points without a win

Formula 1’s expanding calendar could cost the sport its reigning World Champion with Max Verstappen voicing his displeasure when the 2024 schedule was released.

Saying 24 races is “too much”, the driver was asked if it could affect his future and determine whether or not he sees out his Red Bull contract which runs through to the end of 2028.

He replied: “It’s more things that have to come together for me to make my mind up if I stay longer or not.

“But yeah, all these things are definitely not helping.”

Read next: Will the party continue for Max Verstappen’s ‘Orange Army’ at the Dutch Grand Prix?