New Las Vegas Grand Prix could push F1 beyond 23 races in 2023

2023 F1 season

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The 2023 Formula 1 calendar will hit a new high of 24 races unless one or more of this year’s events do not return.

F1 confirmed yesterday a new race in Las Vegas will join the schedule in November next year. The Qatar Grand Prix, which was held for the first time last year but is not on the 2022 F1 calendar, is also due to return.

The cancellation of Russia’s contract to hold F1 races following the country’s invasion of Ukraine leaves the current schedule at 22 races. If all those rounds take place again, plus the two more already confirmed, F1 will reach a new high of 24 races.

There is also the question of whether F1 will finally return to China next year, for the first time since 2019. It was the first country to pull its race after the Covid-19 outbreak.

For the first time since joining the calendar in 2004, China has its own F1 driver. But it remains to be seen when Zhou Guanyu will get the chance to race in his home city. China’s efforts to pursue a zero-Covid strategy is at odds with hosting international sporting events, and drastic restrictions had to be put in place for the Beijing Winter Olympics to take place last February.

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Another complicating factor is F1’s contracts with the teams and the FIA, known as the Concorde Agreement, which imposes an upper limit of 24 races per season.

To make room for all the possible races, some venues may face either losing their rounds or having to alternate with other hosts. Those most under pressure will inevitably be those facing imminent contract renewals.

The French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard will hold the last race of its current contract this year. While the venue in southern France has obvious appeal as a tourist destination, the track is not regarded as one of F1’s best, particularly since the renovation which installed asphalt run-offs at every corner. However last year’s race was widely regarded as by far the best since it returned to the calendar in 2018.

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The principality of Monaco, 200 kilometres to the east, may also have trouble holding onto its race. Long regarded as one of F1’s most glamorous events, it now faces stiff competition in that regard from the likes of Singapore (returning this year after a two-season absence due to Covid), Miami and Las Vegas.

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Monaco was once the only venue which could dictate terms to F1, retaining the rights to sell its own trackside advertising signage, arranging its own television broadcasts and running a unique four-day event. It’s therefore significant that it will join other races in moving to a three-day format this year.

F1’s new race at Zandvoort is also due a contract renewal soon, though the popularity of world champion Max Verstappen may make that a foregone conclusion. His team mate Sergio Perez may likewise help sustain the Mexican Grand Prix.

The series is yet to confirm which track will substitute for Sochi Autodrom to complete this year’s record 23-race schedule. But with the addition of Las Vegas, next year’s calendar could be even bigger.

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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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31 comments on “New Las Vegas Grand Prix could push F1 beyond 23 races in 2023”

  1. I don’t mind if the upper limit gets hit, the figure stays at 23, or is slightly lower.
    The relevant point is some will have to get axed as no space for all at once & Circuit Paul Ricard I can definitely see going, & even Monaco since the LV GP will seemingly overtake it as the glamorous flagship event that doesn’t pay a hosting fee, etc., so Monaco GP might become obsolete. However, losing Spa-Francorchamps would be a pity, but equally as being classic isn’t an automatic guarantee anymore. I’m positive at least Zandvoort will continue given Max effect.

    1. I’d be surprised if Monaco was axed.

      Despite its limitations as a race circuit, it is very much the “essence of Formula 1”.

      1. The Dolphins
        1st April 2022, 17:26

        Likewise. It’s possible that it turns into a biennial event, giving it even more prestige to the wealthy few who can go. Perhaps it can alternate with Paul Ricard given their similar climate and geographies.

        1. @The Dolphins Biennal format is (at least next to) economically unviable for temporary circuits.

    2. I meant ‘equally possible’

  2. Despite the flaws of their circuits, not having a French or German GP on the calendar is bad enough. Spa dropping off would just further confirm the greed over quality direction F1 is headed just because of Drive to Survive. THREE races in the US is overkill.

    I get that the Monaco GP isn’t the most eventful race on the calendar (understatement of the highest order, I know) but are we seriously talking about ending a 90+ year old motor race? Nobody actively talked about removing the Indy 500 from the IndyCar schedule after the 2018 race, or scrapping Le Mans when Group C / LMP1 ended.

    Tradition matters.

    I’m really going off Domenicali. In recent weeks he’s saying things that I’m really disappointed if he believes it.

    1. + 1. Me too. He now sounds like he’s swallowed the Liberty propaganda 100%. Damn the history. Let’s just go for the highest bidder.

      I still doubt though that Monaco will disappear. It’s too high profile and glamorous. I doubt Paul Ricard will survive though.

    2. Wow. The sense of privilege! This isn’t a European championship. It is the world championship.

  3. Domenicali is my least favourite thing about F1 at the moment. He’s not changing it’s business model, he’s changing the whole identity, and almost always against popular opinion. I’m not sure if he’s one of those geniuses time proves right against the rest of the world. He’s definitely quantity (absolutely) over quality kind of guy, but he’s also Hell on Earth Saudi Arabia before SPA, Kitsch Vegas Xmas lights city before Nürburgring and, if one’d have to choose Baku over Monaco for sure. He’d be content with 30 races a year, yeah, but only if each comes with a “sprint” too. He almost got the entire F1 organization including drivers kidnapped in Saudi (it already happened with other sports), but he’s all for going back next year. Numbers are growing, that’s good. If you’re all for numbers, why don’t you close F1 and do some reality show instead? They (the drivers) don’t need to race, they could try themselves in blind dating or eating competition or something, or whatever Kardashians do.

    1. I think he is just doing what Liberty Media want for the sport. I’d be stunned if he actually is in favor of having 3 races in the USA, and having the chance to lose the French GP (home to Alpine, Ocon and Gasly), the Belgian GP (Verstappen and a drivers’ favorite track), and Monaco (home to many drivers but regarded as the hardest track to master and a “crown jewel” of F1).

    2. @Dex I may have liked him more as a TP than the series chairman, however, I don’t dislike him as a person nor in his present role itself. I feel like you’re somewhat dramatizing things.
      Besides, he never said he’d want 30 races (which is impossible anyway).
      By 30, he merely referred to interest & request being high enough for ‘theoretically’ 30 events, which is different than actually wanting.

  4. I can’t imagine Monaco not being on the calendar. Take over coverage from them as they are not too good at it, make them pay a few millions but leaving it out for unimaginative and look-alike tracks… please no. We have too many look-alike tracks already.

    1. The Dolphins
      1st April 2022, 17:36

      It may not be so simple. The principality can choose to not accept those terms. Although it doesn’t usually create good racing it is a unique and historic track which is one of a handful which come to mind when I think of Formula 1. It certainly tests the limits of the drivers.

  5. Kevin O'Connell
    1st April 2022, 12:16

    Dump China.

  6. Have yet to hear a good argument against multiple races in the US. Lots of bad ones, though.

    1. Have yet to hear a good argument for many events on F1’s calendar, but they are still there…

      At least the US has a very motorsport-friendly population. And a large one, at that… Big enough and passionate enough for 3 events, for sure.

      1. With one of them at 1:00 am for a third of the country? Who’s going to watch at that hour? I’m a Yank and I won’t be watching.

    2. Because they don’t have any logical reasons. They would rather wax poetic about having races in countries such as Germany, which are poorly attended when staged (Even with immense German success in the past decade) and countries who refuse to make the financial commitments to be relevant. It’s a joke.

      1. I can see an argument for having 2 races in a country if they’re unique circuits but 3 is a waste when there’s so many other countries deserving of a race.

        America is a big country but tiny compared to India and China which have only ever had one race. I’m sure it could sell out a few circuits but so could loads of countries and I would rather see rounds in India and Africa if we’re going to expand what is a world championship.

        1. India had a chance and went bankrupt. Is someone from either of these places calling with a compelling offer or valid plan for a race? Surely there is an individual in South Africa who could write a check for the privilege? Nope. They wait for the government to fund it which is not happening. Until then race where you are wanted. F1 is not a charity. If China wanted 3 races they would have it. Shanghai or Hong King night race? F1 signs the deal in a heartbeat.

  7. I think three is too many. I’m not sure it can sustain even two races. Most Motorsport fans I know don’t watch F1. Even Indycar has a very poor following. Plus there are no American drivers in the series.
    The Las Vegas location and track look much better than Miami. However the date and time are terrible. Cold weather and so late that half the USA will be asleep. Doesn’t look good for promoting and growing F1 in the USA. Also I think they will just kill the COTA race with this addition.

    1. And yet, both races this year are completely sold out already. First time I won’t be at the COTA race since they began racing there

      1. I think that’s great that they are sold out. I just hope all 3 races are still there in 5 years. Maybe if Andretti is able to start a team with an American driver it might help keep more USA interest. I’m worried about how it all pans out in the long run.

  8. These limits are all arbitrary anyway. People have been moaning about adding races since at least the late nineties with their 16 GPs to a season.

    If the revenues are there, why not do 30 races between late Feb and mid-Dec?

    1. some racing fan
      2nd April 2022, 7:38

      Because that is way too much for the teams, even if they have 2 pit crews.

      1. @proesterchen Limits are valid, so they can’t get ignored.
        @some racing fan Indeed. No team has enough individuals to cover such many events, no matter how much rotation gets done (even this option is possible to a limited extent only, especially under the budget cap era).
        Therefore, 30 will never happen, not that Domenicali said he’d want that many in the first place.
        People merely misinterpreted/twister his words.

        1. There is no fundamental issue keeping F1 from doing 25, 30, or even more races. (apart from the existing contracts, as you rightly point out)

          Rotating on-the-road crews are trivial to implement, especially when you’d normally gravitate towards more double-headers across the calendar.

          If F1 could add another $300 to $400 million in revenues from extra races, no one should bat an eye at spending part of the $15-20 million per team on hiring the extra people needed. The cap language could even specifically account for how the extra revenues get spend across the teams.

  9. I would be floored if Monaco was really at risk. As much as I dislike that “race”, it’s quintessential F1, and a motoring crown jewel. If they do drop Monaco, it will be the last confirmation I need that Liberty is not interested in legacy F1 fans and is catering only to the new (likely fickle) Netflix-sourced market.
    Only time will tell if that strategy pays off for them in the long run.

  10. I still maintain that 20+ is too many.

    23+ is way too many and i have already decided to skip a few races this year for the 1st time since becoming a fan in the 80s as dedicating so much time to 23 race weekends is just not something i can justify doing & most of those i know who watch F1 feel the same.

    Its over saturation. Themore you have the less special they start to feel and the more skipable & throwaway they become.

    I bet that as more races get added you end with a smaller percentage of fans who watch them all which isn’t good as that just makes it feel more disposable. But then that is the way most American ‘sports’ are and F1 is becoming a more American show so i guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

    1. It’s the American way. More and more money is always better. I think this is the way the sport’s going. Of course there will be fans who follow every detail of every race but I think a lot of people will dip in and out more. Especially middle aged and older fans.

      F1 is already to me feeling like a slightly less important interest in my life. People have other things to do. But the sport does have to attract younger fans of course.

  11. For me, the number of races is already way too high. Back in the day I always use to watch every race, but nowadays with so many, there’s usually 4 or 5 that I completely miss. As others above have said, as much as Monaco is an awful race (fingers crossed the new cars help this year), F1 cannot lose it from the calendar. Its the history, and as much as the Sunday can be awful, it’s usually the best Saturday of the year!
    There are a number of crown jewel races that should really be protected as much as possible. Monaco, Monza, Spa, Silverstone, Suzuka – unique, highly recognisable tracks with incredible history in the past. If you remove these for generic street track that could be anywhere, you soon lose what made the sport special. F1 is currently on an up but that won’t always be the case, don’t throw away the history for the new fans who may not stick around

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