Grid, Interlagos, 2018

Why Liberty’s plan for more F1 races is pushing teams to a tipping point

2018 F1 season

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Liberty Media has made no secret of its intention to extended the Formula 1 calendar, potentially up to 25 rounds.

The 2019 F1 calendar will feature the same 21 races as this year. Last week F1 CEO Chase Carey told an investor meeting they still plan to extend the season beyond that. But it’s becoming increasingly clear they face opposition from within the sport.

The latest driver to voice concerns is Lewis Hamilton, who said he doesn’t expect to still be in F1 by the time four more races have been added.

“It already feels like we’re on race 25 this year to be honest so I don’t think it’s a good thing,” said Hamilton, who wants the calendar to be trimmed.

“I think 18 [races] was probably the best, back in the day. I’m someone that really loves racing but the season is long. It’s a long commitment for all of us. It’s a lot of time away from families. The season it getting longer and the off-time is getting shorter.”

As Hamilton alluded to, the strain is far greater for team staff than drivers. While the latter can arrive in time for media activity on Thursday and fly off shortly after the chequered flag on Sunday, the time commitment for engineers and mechanics is much greater.

Force India’s team principal Otmar Szafnauer explained the calendar has reached a point where if it gets any longer teams will have to incur a significant increase in staffing costs.

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Ross Brawn, Otmar Szafnauer, 2018
Szafnauer fears teams will have to “double-staff”
“On average I’d say I’m gone four days for every grand prix weekend, maybe five,” he said. “But I’m in a privileged position where I can come late and leave early.

“The engineers do an extra two days.” Over a season, that means being away for 160 days, which Szafnauer says is “just not sustainable.”

For others the demand is greater still. “The mechanics do even more,” said Szafnauer “They’ll do seven days. I think our chief mechanic and team co-ordinator arrived on Monday here [in Brazil] and they’ll leave on Monday. So it’s a week.

“So if you say a week times 25, now it is half a year that you’re gone. I don’t think that’s sustainable.”

The calendar can’t grow much further before teams reach a tipping point where they have to hire many more employees. “If we get to 25 races then I can see double-staffing a lot of the roles.” Szafnauer believes.

That would mean a huge increase in costs at a time Liberty is trying to win teams over to the idea of a budget cap. How can it square that circle?

Its recent announcement of a new race in Vietnam gave an indication. The race will be held in April, around the same time as other Asian events. F1’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches said this is an example of how Liberty intends to “align our races by geography.”

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Sean Bratches, Circuit of the Americas, 2018
Bratches wants to group races by region
Grouping events in a similar region at the same time of year makes obvious sense from a logistical point of view, as less freight needs to be sent from Europe to Asia or the Americas. It’s not always a winner with race promoters, however, who have concerns over ticket sales from rival races in the same part of the world.

Re-ordering F1’s calendar to group races by region isn’t the work of a moment, as Bratches admits. “We are subject to some agreements we have inherited but ideally, and not necessarily in this order, we would like to have our races in the Asian and Australasian markets grouped, as we would the races in our American and European markets.”

This points towards a calendar which begins in Australasia, moves on to the European heartland, then heads to the Americas for the championship conclusion – which also happens to be at an ideal time for European viewers.

While the number of races will not increase next year, it is surely significant that the season starts a week earlier and finishes a week later.

This has created some breathing space and reduced the number of back-to-back races. But it’s surely only a matter of time until Liberty starts trying to plug those gaps.

The tricky question is going to be whether they can do it while also offering teams financial terms which allows them to absorb any increased staffing costs which may arise.

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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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62 comments on “Why Liberty’s plan for more F1 races is pushing teams to a tipping point”

  1. I would have thought it was slightly more complicated than that. Some regional groupings are complicated by climate, eg Austin and Canada. Plus of course, Liberty has to have a few new balls in the air in case one or two existing races drop out, such as UK or Germany as they cannot afford to lose something like 8% of their hosting fee income. So there will always be more possible races than there are available slots. Liberty will be under tremendous pressure to develop other income streams separate from hosting fees and TV rights.
    Looking at the calendar next year, I think we have four back-to-back races, but no triples – thanks to adding in those two extra weeks.

    1. More diverse weather conditions are very welcome in F1. Let’s have races in cold, windy, rainy, hot weather and the combination of those.

      1. Guessing you’ve never been to a race then :)

        1. @pastaman I have been to many races.

          1. Your comment is even more baffling then.

      2. @f1mre No, they aren’t. Montreal in October/November or March/April is just too cold for F1’s liking and the same with more or less all the European venues while the Middle Eastern venues, for example, as well as, COTA are unpleasantly hot from approximately May till September.

      3. @f1mre, that is all well and good to say, but there are practical limits to how far to any extreme you can go before you end up with a situation that becomes foolhardy, and to the point of recklessness.

        As @jerejj notes, a venue like Montreal is basically unusable for most of the year from a purely practical point of view when you can have snow showers from November to April.

        Equally, there has been criticism in the past for the FIA proceeding with races when they knew the medical helicopter was likely to be grounded due to dangerous flying conditions, which would then increase the risk of delays if somebody was seriously injured – that is a risk that would be significantly increased if you then pressed on with holding races in significantly more adverse weather conditions. Of course, if something did then go wrong in those conditions, the fans aren’t going to stand by and support the FIA for holding the race, but will criticise them for proceeding to hold a race in those conditions.

        Equally, would you be happy with imposing those same conditions on the marshals around the circuit? After all, quite often those same combination of factors will be making it more unpleasant and harder for those marshals to do their job, and whilst fans seem to be rather narrow mindedly thinking of just the drivers, their welfare is just as important.

    2. @nickwyatt To be precise, there are five back-to-backs on next season’s schedule actually.

      1. @jerejj Thanks, I miscounted.

  2. The calendar conundrum is a tricky one. There are main audiences to satisfy, whose interests do not always align:
    – team workers
    – viewers/on site fans
    – businesses/sponsors
    to name a few

    I can think of pros and cons of rearranging the races in the calendars, but that is all it is: either turning some pros into cons, some cons into pros, some pros stay pros, and some cons stay cons. It doesn’t solve all the problems and the major issue of travel does not go away when you have an increased number of races even if they are arranged by geography.

    F1 is a sport where there is often an unfair expectation of magic solutions which will remedy all the problems. Maybe rearranging the calendar is the right thing to do (I haven’t reached an opinion on this) but it can’t be sold as a positive change because it doesn’t solve major issues, it just moves them around.

  3. This system makes it more difficult for races to afford their Grands Prix, and with a global recession looming thanks to what look like near-simultaneous pending economic bother for the USA and the EU (at the moment, long-term growth in Asia and short-term growth in North America is counterbalancing matters), tracks are going to be less able to overcome a shortfall in tickets.

    I’m also not yet confident of Liberty’s ability to deliver races, after Miami was announced and went nowhere. The Vietnam track doesn’t exist yet and at the moment, serious injuries have to be airlifted to Bangkok or Singapore – neither within the 20 minutes’ travel required for land transport (so if there’s bad weather, the race can’t run) and neither within 900 km of the track (so even flying’s going to take a while…) There’s a lot of building to go, and a lot of people to get ready, before the venue can safely host a race.

    In the FOM era, I wouldn’t have worried unless the signals were still bad in 12 months’ time. However, after Miami was tripped up by a political decision that really should have been taken before any public announcement from Liberty, I just lack confidence.

    All of Otmar’s issues about double-staffing are legitimate, and I think will be £4 m depending on exact wages of ground staff (I’m assuming only the 60 people with pit passes need doubling, and that each earns the £66 k average salary of a Force India staff member). However, Liberty has to be able to deliver the extra races for this to be an actual problem.

  4. So, I have said this before, and I am going to repeat it here: I am not sure that as a fan, adding extra races adds equally to my enjoyment. Currently, it can already be a strain on plans and coordination with my dear wife, who’s not a fan, that I’d ideally be at home when qualifying, and the race are 21 times a year.

    To some extent, F1tv pro helps, because now I don’t need to sit in the living room with German RTL on TV (and my PC in the next room, with a Sky/Channel4 feed fallen off the back of an internet cable, for when they are on their add-break), but instead I can follow it on my PC, or on my phone while at the gym (w00t wifi); and the fact that nowadays the live timing usually works helps too (so I can listen to ‘radio’ for quali while doing shopping), which helps ‘around the edges’. But, fundamentally, nearing half of the weekends unavailable for doing things together, or having to be organised around the every changing times of F1 puts a strain on it.

    And I cannot help but think that when I think back over the races this year, good tough they often were, would I have missed a lot if I instead did something else that one weekend? Last week I was travelling, only got back halfway the race. Yes, I missed it, a bit, but I had a great time (and radio f1).

    In conclusion: no I am not convinced I’d feel much need to pay a lot more to follow a longer season, so I remain unsure about the economic case for more races.

  5. Back when we had 19 or fewer races I used to watch almost all the sessions live, I just skipped the free practice sessions that were during work hours or at an unsociable hour.

    When they stepped up to 21 rounds in 2016 I pretty much gave up on practice sessions altogether, skipped a couple of qualifying sessions, and only watched highlights for a couple of races rather than live. 21 weeks of my year is just too much, especially now with a family. Take that to 25 races and I’m not even sure I’d watch highlights of every race, I’ll probably just read the result of the more processional races.

    Now you might think so what, if I’m still watching as many as when there were 19, and some people are watching them all still then Liberty at least hasn’t lost anything even if there are diminishing returns on their efforts. But the problem I see is that it’s very easy when they bombard us with excessive content to slip from being a dedicated fan watching everything, to being a casual fan just dipping your toes in occasionally. And that’s without even considering the fatigue it places on the teams.

    1. Same here. Frankly I would like to return to the 16 race schedule, start in April and end late October. 25 races will be too much for me, leading to waning interest. I guess Liberty needs more venues to make up for falling track fees. If Silverstone drops out Liberty will have to sign up two tracks to make that up $35 million USD hosting fee Silverstone would have had to pay in 2026. Another factor for the tracks is they reap none of the on track advertising money; Liberty gets all of that.

  6. I still feel like 20/21 races is pushing it & that 25 is far too many.

    I agree with Lewis that a max of 18 felt like the perfect number, The season started in mid/late March & ended in mid/late October. Back then every race still felt like an event while now I feel like it’s starting to feel routine & less special. Also with the longer off-season you had time to recharge & get really excited for the start of the following season.

    Too much of anything will inevitably see you eventually start to grow tired of it & for me anyway i’ve found that 20/21 race weekends is about my limit as by the last 2 or so races the past few years i’ve been rather tired of it.

    Additionally something to consider is that more races means more clashing with other things be it other categories & Other sporting events with less room to shift things around to avoid this as was possible in the past.

    1. @stefmeister well said (better put than I did above, I think), have to agree.

    2. I still feel like 20/21 races is pushing it & that 25 is far too many.

      21 (3×7) is ideal for me; we have 3 F1 teams and 7 F1.5 teams :P

    3. Formula One in mid/late November is still strange to me. But I also do not like the 4 summer weeks without F1. I’d say start in mid-March, let’s have only a 3 week summer holiday (two consecutive weekends without F1, not three) and finish at the end of October.

      I just put up a 2019 calendar: A double header both precedes and succeeds three non-double header races (except for first and last races). And there is a holiday with no race for 2 consecutive weekends. It happened to be an 18 race long season, with two of the eight months having three race weekends.

      1. @f1mre Could you provide your personal 2019 schedule here? I’d be happy to see how you’ve formed it.

  7. I don’t watch NASCAR but it was always my go to joke of a long season, and this year F1 is going a week past their finale. I love F1, but I have no interest in cramming more races into an already 9 month long season three weeks of which they don’t even race during. There is other racing I like to watch as well.

    I also don’t see how aligning all races geographically will help each one out. When I lived in China I would not have had the time to go to Japan if it was the next one, or any of the other races in the area. You separate those races and when they come back I would have time to go to another race.

  8. The teams are going to need two complete sets of crews, one for Australasia and the other for Europe and the Americas. 21 races already are too many. As a statistician I find myself updating the database all the time, with results that are increasingly invariable…over the past two seasons only twice was there a car other than Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull on the podium. Regional grouping of races should mean that the races within a region would alternate and not hold a GP every year…then we can have 30 race tracks rotating in 18-race calendar.

    1. Regional grouping of races should mean that the races within a region would alternate and not hold a GP every year

      @gpfacts +1 to this – it should satisfy the need for more circuits, without causing fan fatigue, or frustrating promoters.

      Liberty might not be too thrilled, as I think part of their motivation behind increasing the number of races is to increase revenue.

      1. @phylyp I believe that your suspicion might be correct! 8-)

  9. Why make it compulsory for teams to compete in every round? What if teams could choose which rounds they enter? Perhaps the championship points could be decided by a team’s 12 best results? This would require that many more teams could enter races, but that would surely be a good thing.

    1. That is an interesting thought, although in 25-race calendar, dominant combination of car/driver could easily win the title by having 12 victories…and that does not sound ideal.

      1. Then how about each team nominates the 18 rounds that they will enter out of the total 25? The point being that with more than 20 rounds an option for teams to miss some might be helpful. Again, this would require more teams to enter, but that can only be a good thing.

        1. We would need more teams then, because I am sure promoters would seek guarantees of no less than 20 cars on the grid for each race.

    2. That’s an interesting thought, but fans could argue they bought tickets to the GP to see Lewis in a Mercedes and Sebastian in a Ferrari and Max driving for RBR, etc.

    3. Michael van der Riet
      18th November 2018, 5:38

      rsp123 that’s my thinking too. Look at the US PGA golf system. Most weekends there is more than one tournament and the pros choose which ones they want to play in. Another thing that gets me is that the star drivers like Lewis bring millions in FOM money and sponsorship to their teams. So why aren’t they traded like football strikers, for millions? Something has to be done to revive interest in F1 (TV audiences have halved since 2000) and even a wacky idea just might work.

      1. Peter Waters (@)
        18th November 2018, 21:56

        Myself personally, would rather liberty think in the long term rather than the short. It is all to make a quick buck.
        25 races is way too long. What are they going to do, jump on the Christmas band wagon?

        I will not to be able to watch the live races next year as I will not pay for a sports channel just to watch F1 (I do not watch other sports). If channel 4 dries up that will be another fan gone (I have been watching since the early eighties).

        F1 should be on free to air channels. Get more people watching, then these people, (once hooked) will go to the races. They have to increase the fan base to make money.

        Prices of tickets at the races is out of my justifiable means. I am probably not the only one who thinks this way either. In the eighties it was nice to go the races, it wasn’t too expensive and it made for a great weekend. However, now it is not possible. Far too much money!

  10. Would love one of the races to be somewhere in Africa perhaps South Africa?

    1. For sure South America will nick that one as well like they did with the Dakar Rallye ;)

    2. Michael van der Riet
      18th November 2018, 6:24

      Peter the South African Grand Prix, when it was held, was a steady money loser on a big scale. It had to be subsidized by government. There are better priorities for the use of public money, e.g. upliftment of those in poverty, healthcare and education. Dwindling TV audiences also render the possibility of the race paying for itself, ever more remote. I would love to attend another SAGP but not if it has to be funded by charity.

  11. When Liberty took over they were often drawing parallels with the NFL as a model to aspire to with every race being a ‘SuperBowl’ event.
    I think they quickly realised that the ‘SuperBowl’ is special because it happens once a year.
    They also ought to consider that the NFL regular season is limited to 18 matches per team, although there are 32 teams altogether.
    Does this mean that the NFL are not maximising revenue and leaving money on the table?
    No, the NFL have come to the the conclusion that ‘less is more’ and fan passion and interest is high with less than the maximum number of matches. The team owners also concur because a limited product means more ticket sales per match and more likely that the TV channels will pay more for a limited product.
    So, to summarise, I think Liberty should be looking to reduce the calendar rather than increase it.

    1. @ceevee Great points. There is more value in fewer races of a higher quality, than diluting the product by having too many races.

    2. Michael van der Riet
      18th November 2018, 6:50

      There are two ways to make a better profit. The first is to sell more, supermarket style. The second is to make more out of every sale, Apple style. Liberty seems to be missing the obvious factor which is steadily declining TV audiences. TV is the major revenue source for F1. Trackside and on-car advertisers in turn want to know that their ads will be seen by more potential buyers. Liberty has to re-conceptualise the product to improve its appeal to viewers. Cheapening the product by churning out a greater volume of lower quality is not the answer.

      Most of a team’s revenue comes from FOM. Teams are helpless and rely on FOM to sell F1 for the best price available. Each team’s expenses are overwhelmingly the fixed costs of buying power units, pressing tubs and aero design. A couple of extra events a season won’t impact their budgets that seriously. However even the team that finishes tenth at a race should get enough FOM allocation to cover its direct costs for that race. The special deal that Ferrari gets as a legacy member obviously isn’t doing them any favors. It only encourages inefficiency. Budget caps will help the teams to survive (Williams Martini being on record as saying they are very close to pulling the plug on F1). The major survival strategy that all players need to be looking at, is how to get more paying viewership.

      1. Maybe if there were less races and tracks needed to alternate in holding them every other year or so, the promoters would be willing to pay larger fee than they are ready to accept on annual basis?

  12. 21 races already feel like quite a stretch. I come from an era where theseason lasted 16 rounds, and it kept increasing. In any case, I’m just a fan and I only have to make way 2 hours of my life every other sunday. It must be hard being a mechanic, working under that much pressure, and being away from your family, your house, your culture for so long every year. I hope they find a solution if the calendar keeps getting bigger, so that everyone can handle it.

  13. Hamilton isn’t the only driver who’s voiced his concerns over this topic. Verstappen and Perez out of the drivers who’ll compete in F1 beyond this season as well although Alonso as well, but he’s set to leave the series soon anyway.

    ”The race will be held in April, around the same time as other Asian events.”
    – The latter flyaway phase of the season features Asian events as well, though, not only the early-season one.

    ”it is surely significant that the season starts a week earlier and finishes a week later.”
    – Not really, though, as there have been season’s with similar lengths before as well with 2015 being the most comparable example from the recent past. Furthermore, as I’ve pointed out before, next season is set to finish only two days later than in 2015 when the 29th of November served as the race day for the Abu Dhabi GP, so barely any difference there, and, therefore, no biggie as opposed to what some seem to think.

  14. As a mechanic who’s done 21 races a year; that was for me, the maximum. Double headers were hard at times, especially if there was a test tagged on the end. Some races outside of Europe required much earlier leave days. Standard leave days for European races would be Tuesday but this could be Sunday for some/most outside of Europe and even Saturday for some (8 days before the race!)
    Although any triple header is a bad idea in my opinion, due to the amount of time away from home, a triple header outside of Europe would be better logistically than this years – due to the amount of trucks requiring double drivers and the motor home pack down/rebuild time (neither are used outside of Europe). It’s also not like the days are standard 9-5 either. 16hr days would be common at certain points of the week.

    1. @joetoml1n – very nice to hear from someone in the trenches, and to hear first-hand just how punishing that schedule is.

      I’d have naively thought that a triple-header in Europe would be preferable, so its very interesting to see your preference for them outside Europe (and the reason for that).

      I would love to hear more about your work and weekends. And if you work for a team that I have criticized harshly, let me pre-emptively apologize, it is nothing personal, I’m just an(other) armchair critic at work.

      1. @phylyp: No need to apologize – you were just doing your thankless, unpaid job from an unbranded armchair without factory support. You just need to up your game next season and harshly criticize all the teams equally.

      2. More than happy to share. I’ve decided to make a bit of a move from just reading comments to being able to advise where possible! So fire away any questions you have in the future!
        That’s okay, no need to apologies! Trackside you can only make so much difference to the performance of the car and where a difference can be made, you can usually only make it slower!

        1. and where a difference can be made, you can usually only make it slower

          @joetoml1n LOL :-)

          Here’s a general question – in the earlier part of this year, we’d seen a spate of wheel-related issues in the pits. Last year, we didn’t see as many, despite last year being the first with these larger and heavier tyres & wheels. In your opinion, is that pattern just coincidence, or was it the consequence of the pit crews aiming to shave a tenth off here and there in 2018, as opposed to a more cautious approach with the new wheels in 2017?

          1. I wouldn’t of said last year was a cautious approach. We practiced daily over the winter in the lead up to pre season testing. And of course many times over a race weekend. Mechanics always try to improve time, and designers always try to improve the equipment. This includes the wheel gun design (quick release/reverse) as well as wheel nut, axle and wheel retainer pins design to save speed. I can’t say what the cause was though. Maybe some of the issues were a knock on effect of some design changes, either physical or electronic (green lights/auto release jacks etc). I sure there was some coincidence in there as well. Sorry that doesn’t exactly answer the question though!

        2. Thanks for providing insight, always felt sorry for the team members packing up after each race as well as the mechanic crews performing miracles over the course of the weekend.

        3. @joetoml1n I have been trying to get an interview with Steve Matchett for some time now, as we don’t have any with a mechanic on the web-site…but it’s not happening. If you would be willing, please get in touch at and maybe we can put something together after the season. Thanks.

          1. No problem! I’ll drop a mail tomorrow

  15. The way things are going all the GPs will be held in countries where only the wealthiest can buy tickets. Didn’t Bernie say he only wants an audience who will buy Rolex and Mercedes? I guess they see it more like horse racing, where the rich attend and the poor place bets on it.

  16. here’s an idea for Liberty; halve the number of team personnel allowed at the track. That would allow teams to accept extra races without incurring extra staffing costs (teams could keep the same size crews, just alternate between them). Liberty could even sweeten the deal by allowing the teams to keep the paddock passes that are freed up for their own corporate uses.
    I’m sure teams would counter that this would put extra pressure on those present, but they could apply their countless engineers to add in some design for maintenance ideas to ease the burden of repairs and maintenance. Whilst Liberty are at it they should ban the Race Control centres to limit the teams real time data analysis capabilities. The combination with above might even bring back the uncertainty that we all crave!

    1. here’s an idea for Liberty; halve the number of team personnel allowed at the track

      @gobert – IIRC, it is already capped at 60 heads trackside, which is why a lot of them pull double-duty – the pit crew/car mechanics also take care of building up/tearing down the garages, etc. With nearly 20 staff required for the pit crew itself, 60 is not an unreasonable cap, though I doubt it could be reduced any further.

      I’m not sure if hospitality staff are also counted in this cap of 60 heads or not, someone with better insight in the matter could advise. That said, I’m sure teams would not be keen on saving heads in the hospitality staff, given teams use their race presence as a marketing and brand building activity.

      1. Hospitality and marketing are not included in operational staff. Operational staff are mechanics, technicians engineers, management, physios, IT (sometimes). Teams try to push the boundaries of what is and isn’t operational to give themselves any personnel advantage possible

        1. @joetoml1n – cheers, that’s a very useful clarification

      2. @phylyp – 60 people to allow 2 cars to go about 300-400 miles over the course of a long weekend is still quite a few. Granted the current power units are so complex any crew size reduction would have to be accompanied by design changes to make the mechanics life easier. Teams that fail to do so would no doubt run the risk of minor incidents in practice having greater consequences than they do now. A team of 20 mechanics/technicians, 5 engineers and 5 managers/IT should be sufficient. Of which perhaps only half a dozen would attend all races in an expanded calendar.
        @joetoml1n – much has been made by the press about the complexity of PUs, is that the main driver in teams’ crew size or is it the data hungry nature of F1 teams/cars? Would pre-installed garage facilities help ease the burden on crews?

        1. I’ve only worked in the hybrid era so can’t compare to the V8 days. But It’s not the main contributing factor to the size of the teams. I’ve worked for Mercedes and Ferrari customer teams, I think a total of ~8 technicians and engineers was all that was required from their side. On top of that from our side there’d be an engine kitter, gearbox/rear end mech, front end mech, fuel cell/chassis mech, No1 mech, chief mechanic, 2x fuel men, tyre technician (my role), on car electrician, race and performance engineers, per car. As well as a pit stop area and equipment technician, garage electrican, and other engineers monitoring tyres, gearbox, reliability, radio/comms engineer, 2x IT, and then senior engineers and management.

          As for the second point, each team operates differently and has different equipment and requirements, I don’t think pre facilitated garages will be the future. It takes less than a day to put the majority of the garage together and 6 ish hrs to pull down so it’s not the biggest burden.

  17. I don’t know, but I have this feeling that after the fancy nice things we had from Liberty (e.g. youtube and such) this is the moment they start to screw up badly

  18. As a follower of F1 for many years, I’m finding it harder and harder to maintain my interest by the time we get to November.

    Instead of watching all sessions live, it’s now record and have a look later (if I can find the time). I usually skip practice, have a look at qualifying and the race at some point in the days after.

    Frankly – I’m over it by season end. It’s an overkill already at 21 races let alone 25.

    It will lose any semblance of exclusivity, or importance and just come across as “just another motor race”.

  19. I’ve commented on this before, generalising, I think Liberty need to set up regional series to fill the gaps in the calendar rather than try to force the teams to spend more cash and time away.
    Putting on my amazing (but a little fuzzy) rose-tinted specs I recall a much shorter F1 championship interspersed with non-championship races and the Tasman series in Aust/NZ summer, I think Liberty will have to adopt something along these lines in order to provide year-round product. My suggestion would be something along the lines of 10 race series in regions like Au/Nz, N. America, S. America and Asia, using last years cars (possibly modified to equalise performance and reduce drive-train stress) and next years potential drivers, shorter sprint races ( c. 150-160 Km ) no tactical tyre changes etc. etc. in order to reduce costs to the affiliated teams. Liberty would have to forgo hosting fees and accept only modest returns by way of TV and online content sales. A champion of champions race(s) could be held on a rotational basis in each of the regions to further enthuse regional fans. Anon will no doubt be able to explain why this will not work or maybe how it could work.

  20. For me the ideal solution would be to lock F1 calendar to 20 GP’s and then have 5-10 special races alongside the calendar, where all the drivers have the same machinery. It could be a touring race car or F3 car, I don’t care. 20 race calendar and then regional special races, where all F1 drivers have same machinery and they could go head-to-head. For example normal Belgian GP followed by special event at Zandvoort; normal Italian GP followed by special GP at Imola etc. It could be a separate championship running at the same time with typical WDC battle. At the end of the year we’d have 2 WDC battles to follow. To enhance the competition there could be one-off celebrity drivers like ex-F1 drivers and drivers from other motorsport series’ to battle current F1 drivers in this new competition.

  21. Just read this today. This is the one part of the Liberty strategy that I don’t understand. There appears to be virtually no support for an increase in the number of races. From the teams, the drivers or F1 fans. In fact there’s probably more support for a reduction!

    Why is the message just not getting through? I guess it’s all to do with the numbers and possibly some of the current venues having unsustainable fees.

    Personally I think 18-20 is fine but certainly no more.

    Liberty needs to look at its tv income strategy as well. As has been stated many times, F1 will struggle to gain extra viewers if people cannot find it on free to air tv.

  22. What if f1 was split into two series
    One for power unit development
    One for chassis development
    That way teams would spend the same amount but receive twice the revenue

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