Reducing number of GPs will ‘massively increase value’

Date published: July 16 2018

Nico Hulkenberg

Rather than add more races to the calendar, Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says F1 should reduce the number of races as it would “massively increase the value” of the sport.

This season there are 21 races on the calendar, the longest to date, including the sport’s first-ever triple header.

Next year is set to remain at 21 with Germany reportedly making way for Miami.

And while F1’s owners Liberty Media have spoken in the past about a 25-race calendar, Renault F1 boss Abiteboul believes that would detract from the value of the brand.

He told Motorsport.com: “We need to be able to engage with fans but is has to remain something special. We are already way above what should be the figure for something special.

“We need to convey a message of pride, of motivation, of energy. With the calendar that we have now, the enthusiasm is not the same as when we were only traveling 15 times per year.

“If we don’t have that energy, it is going to be very difficult to convey that externally.

“It is almost becoming routine. It should not be a day-to-day job. We’ve tipped that balance, so we need to be extremely careful.

“I appreciate the reason why, commercially we need to grow the calendar, but as far as I’m concerned, I would be for a massive contraction of the sport.”

Believing that between “15 and 18” races would be the perfect number, Abiteboul says it would force the current circuits to put on a better show or risk losing their place.

“If you were to go very aggressive and say 15 races, you have to tell the 21 races you have right now, ‘Look guys there are going to be six of you that will be dropped: compete’,” he added.

“You completely reverse the pattern of the market. It would be very interesting to see the reaction.

“I understand it would be a gamble, that it is not something within the current set-up of Formula 1, that acquires more money every year, more people, more tracks, more prize-fund, more of everything.

“But at some point there will be a crunch time and maybe we will see if we can switch the balance.”

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