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Domenicali: F1 may shorten future calendars and rotate races

2021 F1 season

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Stefano Domenicali, who has taken over as CEO of Formula 1 Management following Chase Carey’s departure, says the sport may shorten its schedule in future.

A record 23 races have been scheduled on the 2021 F1 calendar. Domenicali says the sport is working towards holding its full calendar this year.

“For the information that we have, everyone would like, really, to go ahead with the plan,” he told Sky today.

The Australian and Chinese grands prix have already been postponed due to the pandemic. The season is now due to begin in Bahrain in March.

“Of course, we need to be flexible enough to understand that maybe in the first part of the season, we may have some event with no public or we restrict the number of public [attending],” Domenicali said, “But what I can assure our supporters, our fans is that really we want to make sure that the season is there.”

Back-up plans are being organised should events fall through, he added. “We have a commitment and we want to take that on board. We have possible alternatives in case of [problems] but so far, no one has given us different information to what we’ve shared. There’s no reason to lie.

However Domenicali indicated he is prepared to shorten the schedule in future. “We may go to a situation where maybe we could go back to a fewer number of races, maybe the chance of having a rotation, a possibility for certain grands prix, keeping a focus on different areas,” he explained.

“So this is something that is in our plan to think carefully this year, getting ready for when the world would be normal again.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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25 comments on “Domenicali: F1 may shorten future calendars and rotate races”

  1. My friend and I came up with a reasonable 2 year rotation, where some tracks were fixed, and other tracks rotated.
    Some of the fixed ones are down to classic status, others down to realistic need for $money$ *cough*Abu Dhabi.

    It’s a pipeline dream, but I hope they are able to implement something like this over time.

    Rotation 1 /Rotation 2
    Albert Park Albert Park
    Bahrain Inner Bahrain Outer
    Hanoi Istanbul
    Imola Mugello
    Zandvoort Sochi
    Paul Ricard Monaco
    Silverstone Silverstone
    Baku Baku
    Hungaroring Hungaroring
    Spa Spa
    Monza Monza
    Red Bull Ring Red Bull Ring
    Nurburgring Hockenheimring
    Catalunya Algarve
    Singapore Sepang?
    Suzuka Suzuka
    Gilles Vileneuve Gilles Vileneuve
    Interlagos Mexico (AHR)
    Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi

    1. Monaco every other year? No way..
      The rest is reasonable and enjoyable.

      1. To be fair, I just needed an easy rotate with Paul Ricard, and Monaco is the closest race to it.
        You’re right, though, I doubt they’d dare cut Monaco under normal circumstances!

    2. Monaco is a bore and pays nothing as host. Time to cut it.

    3. I love this calendar rotation and 20 (well balanced) races in a season is great to see as well.

    4. I like your rotation but Zandvoort in that slot is a bit out of the way you can beter place that around Belgium/England/Germany and Monaco should be only qualiflier only event as for a race that sucks a lot or the cars must be much smaller.

      Also when (Zandvoort/Sochi) Sochi year then Germany is also selected Dutch fans don’t have to travel too far then.

      1. If you accept Abu Dhabi for money reasons, then you have to leave Sochi on there as well @cgturbo. And I’d say China is probably a stalemate given every year as well. And with Max Craze in the Netherlands still strong, I’d think that should be a yearly event as well, just like the Red Bull ring would be (since they pay). Monaco and Singapore are almost certainly stayers for yearly, unless they drop out and end up not being there at all.

        It is far more likely that we end up with a rotation where the likes of Imola, Portimao, Barcelona, Spa, Hungaroring, Hockenheim, Nurburgring, Paul-Ricard and even Monza and Suzuka (especially now that Honda is out again) bi-annual events. Maybe Turkey would be interested in that too.

        Oh, and Hanoi won’t be there at all, since the ppl behind it are no longer able to push for that event.

    5. Zandvoort will never agree. They have a mere 10ish years left to get a ROI and profit from Max.
      And by the look of it, this year is another bust for Zandvoort, so only 9ish years remaining.

    6. Not sure I can accept Interlagos being on rotation, at least not with such a weak race as Mexico, but beyond that this is something I would sign up to.

      1. The reason I put Interlagos on rotation is because of the current doubt over its future anyway.
        I won’t claim to know the details, but if having it on rotation helps its longevity, all the better :)

  2. I’ve been saying this for years. Shorten the calendar and rotate races. Good way to keep F1’s exclusivity without losing unique venues. Great to hear a similar idea from somebody in charge.

    1. The problem @johnbeak is that it is often not financially viable for a venue to host a race every other year. Where it’s been tried before (e.g. Germany) it has collapsed within a few years as one or other of the venues can’t afford to carry on.

      1. Indeed, @red-andy. I would like to have a shorter calendar with better overall quality of the tracks too @johnbeak. But it does not really work as we would wish.

        I can see how F1 would like to say they’ll be going that route. But the purpose would be to UP the price for the events taking part so that the total revenue goes up despite lesser events (since they are now more “exclusive”). Which makes it even less likely places like Spa, Imola, Portimao, Turkey etc. will be able to compete with the likes of Baku, Sochi, Shanghai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
        I’d fear for losing Suzuka too, now that Honda is leaving F1.

      2. @red-andy I think in Germany’s case they ended up rotating because that was the only way the tracks could afford it as F1 is a huge loss maker for them. Their business cases were essentially lose £15m on the F1 race and then spend the rest of the year trying to recoup that using the prestige associated with it, moving to every other year gave them an extra year to recoup that money and was how they were able to balance the books for a few years at least.

  3. Boo. More races each season please.

  4. Ultimately it all comes down to $$$. With the losses incurred this year and them extending into 2021 (there will be a few schedule reworks I’m sure) I can’t see this happening for a few years yet (and that doesn’t consider the length of existing contracts).

    Not massively against rotation, however it will disincentivise new investment/GPs as could take twice as long to get same income which will severely impact business plans. All you may end up with are the same races on less well maintained circuits (I am referring to paddock, spectator infrastructure etc rather than the safety side).

  5. Very good idea… 19/20 races per year is ideal.

    Have a European GP for classic venues like Spain, France and Germany.

    Have an Asian GP for upcoming Asian markets like China, Korea and India.

    An Eastern European grand prix for venues like Russia, Azerbaijan & Turkey.

    Finally a second race in America and an arrangement where the two races rotate among many venues like LA, Miami, Indy, Texas, New York

  6. So many Monaco haters!!

    Guys, the problem is not the circuit, it’s the MASSIVE cars we currently have. History tells us this. Do you REALLY want an F1 calendar without its crown jewel?

    1. YES REALLY.

      The cars are definitely too big, but the circuit still isn’t a good race circuit. It’s nothing more than a driving challenge – which would be fine if it were a rally stage, but F1 isn’t a time-trial.

    2. Ok, I also think those tractors are prime concern but Monte-Carlo sucks anyway. They should never ever had changed the original layout. If only they’d move the pits to the swimming pool complex…

    3. I think it needs to go until cars are smaller, then I would be happy having it back. Alternatively, have a couple of qualifying races instead.

  7. The amount of races should be reduced in the future. I don’t want an overkill schedule as much as 23.

  8. If we need balance income with quality, how about rotating between Suzuka, Interlagos and Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season? If need be rotate it over four years, with Abu Dhabi turning up twice.

  9. That’s an idea I’ve been fond of for some time. A good calendar for starters could be of 16 races, plus 2 extra-championship races, maybe. Having Italy, USA, GBR, GER rotating would be bliss. Canada and Japan could be cool, but France would be a necessity!

  10. I can’t see many of the race promoters been open to the idea of rotating races as that sort of arrangement offers them no benefits, It’s all mostly negatives.

    Lost revenue is an obvious negative but it can also be harder to promote & drum up interest in a race that only happens every other year. The promoters need a big event to promote each year as that is how they sell tickets & make their revenue, Without that they will lose money which makes it harder to continue hosting the big events.
    One of the factors that led Hockenheim/Nurburgring to losing the race completely was that the alternating arrangement after 2006 hurt both venues as both were losing chunks of money due to the lost revenue, Both were finding it harder to draw in fans & both felt that was at least in part due to not having that annual big event to promote year around & both then also felt that hurt there ability to attract other big events.

    Some places could maybe get away with it as they have that massive diehard motorsport mad fanbase, But some venues would simply not be able to sustain the race if they were been alternated on/off the calendar.

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