Start, Paul Ricard, 2018

F1 calendar is at “saturation point” with 21 races – Horner

2019 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the Formula 1 calendar should not extend beyond 21 races as it is already at “saturation point”.

This year’s schedule equals the longest F1 has ever had. The provisional 2019 F1 calendar announced by FOM earlier this year features the same 21 races again spread over an extended schedule which starts earlier and finishes later.

F1’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media has suggested increasing the schedule to as many as 25 races. But it is facing resistance from some teams.

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul recently suggested bringing the number of races to 15 or 16. And in today’s FIA press conference Horner said he believes 21 races should be “the max”.

“Twenty-one races I think is about saturation point,” he said. “There’s only so many chapters you can have in a book and I think at some point it goes beyond what’s relevant.

“I think to go as low as 15 or 16 is a bit too low. Maybe Cyril was looking at grid penalties or something. But I think that 21 is the upper end.”

The current calendar already takes a severe toll on trackside staff, said Horner.

“It’s tough. It’s tough for the guys in the garage, the travelling staff, it’s tough for everybody involved.

“I think for the spectators and fans as well beyond 24 races it reaches saturation. It’s finding that balance.”

Possible new races in Vietnam, the Netherlands and Miami have been mooted recently. Horner says these races should compete with existing venues for calendar space.

“The really encouraging thing is there’s some great venues that want to host Formula 1 races and events and I think that should provide natural competition for the events that are already on the calendar.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “F1 calendar is at “saturation point” with 21 races – Horner”

    1. I’ve been a fanatical fan for many many years, but today I did something I can’t believe I did.

      I turned off the TV and did something else. I’ve also made plans to go out on Sunday rather than stay home to watch the race live.

      Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I think I’ve reached saturation point. Having the Russian GP (that to me contributes nothing to F1) last weekend has taken the shine off one of the classic races, one I should b glued to whereas a couple from weeks build up from the Singapore one would have been great.

      Please Liberty, reduce the number of races, plan their scheduling properly and you’ll win my vote.

      If you have fewer races and larger gaps between them, there’s also the possibility that some teams might actually b able to get some development done instead of having to devote all of their resources to packing up and shipping to the next venue with hardly a breath.

      1. @dbradock I am completely with these sentiments. 16 quality races is a really good number to aim for. I think most fans would happily do without sochi and abu dhabi altogether. I’ve often argued for a rotation system for the non-classic tracks (I envisage a lively hypothetical argument to decide which those are/are not) which would (a) ensure that the calendar is not as pointlessly long as it is now and (b) reduce local competition for attending fans. however, it seems that for all their talk, liberty want to suck the sport dry, much as their predecessors did. hence, saturation, boredom, listless fans reducing in number, and a weakened sport.

    2. Why do I have a feeling he’s said the exact same words before as well. Why was this topic suddenly bring up again in today’s team personnel press conference? Furthermore, according to Chase Carey, they don’t have a ‘target number’ concerning the number of races, though.

    3. Too late. I HAVE reached saturation point.

      I didn’t even realize Free Practice was today till I went looking for the round-up here this morning!

      I don’t think I’ve ever been this disinterested in a F1 weekend before.

    4. I’m wondering if Horner has ever read a book… How on earth can one state the number of chapters allowed… Yet some people believe every word this man utters… Hahaha…

    5. My interest is also waning, though it has more to do with predictability. I don’t mind 20-21 races, but if every weekend plays the same story it is becoming boring. 2012 had 20 grands prix and it was great because every race featured different order and many surprises. Had that been the case now, it wouldn’t be a problem.

      1. I agree, I don’t mind 20 races if they are entertaining.
        Happy for new venues and get rid boring souless tracks like Sochi, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain but won’t happen because they happily pay high fee whereas the classics like Japan and Germany will disappear due to the high fee demands

    6. I was out all last weekend, so recorded the Ch4 quali and race highlights. Also recorded the BTCC season finale (didn’t see a werkend found up this week btw).

      I followed text updates of the F1, but as it didn’t seem so exciting, I prioritised BTCC. Having not had the chance to watch either quali or race, and being away again this weekend. I deleted the F1. Realistically i have no impetus to watch it.
      I’m recording Suzuka and will likely watch it once I’m back, but if the internet confirms another snooze fest, who knows?…

    Comments are closed.