McLaren chief backs plans to rotate races

Date published: February 11 2021

Zak Brown McLaren

Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren, is in favour of Formula 1 rotating races rather than having the same 23 events on the calendar year after year.

Last season Formula 1 was forced to shake up the schedule, the calendar undone by the pandemic.

That meant Formula 1 stayed in Europe for the first half of the season with Imola, Portimao and the Nurburgring all hosting a round of the championship.

This year Imola is getting another opportunity to host a grand prix while Portimao is expected to be confirmed later today.

They are effectively replacing the Chinese and Vietnam races.

“I’d like to get to a place where we are rotating some races,” Brown told Motorsport.com.

“I’m a big believer that if a good country wants a grand prix, that’s a great thing. I think the more countries we race in, the better.

“That being said, I think there’s two things to consider with the size of the schedule. There’s first and foremost is your people. It’s a brutal schedule.

“And then the other is the scarcity of the races. If you look at NFL, there are I think 16 regular season games, and three or four play-offs. The Olympics is massively popular, that’s every four years, as is the World Cup.

“We know some grands prix tail off over time, and so actually if you didn’t make it an annual thing, but every two years, would some of those grands prix be actually more sustainable because you don’t have the burn-out?”

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F1 boss Stefano Domenicali recently gave his support to a rotating calendar, saying he would like “a fewer number of races and then maybe the chance of a rotation is possible for certain grands prix”.

Brown agrees that at 23 races the calendar is too long.

“In our ideal world, you would do 20 grands prix per year,” he added.

“Maybe there are 25 markets, and maybe 15 of those are fixed events, because there is a commercial reality of this sport. You do have to balance all of the various interests, and we do need to get the sport to add up.

“I’d like to see there be a day where we’re in 25 markets, 15 core grands prix, and 10 other races – five of them are one year, and then five the next year.

“You might create more sustainable venues in some of those instances because people will go, ‘oh, it’s only around every two years, so I don’t want to miss it next year’.”

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