Current F1 world champion Max Verstappen has given his views on Formula 1’s calendar debate.
Since 2017’s takeover by Liberty Media, F1 has increased its usage of street circuits. One of the reasons behind this is that bosses see street tracks as a unique opportunity to take the racing to the people, rather than on purpose-built circuits miles away from cities.
Because of this, street circuits in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and now Miami all feature on the race schedule. In addition, “partial” street circuits in Australia, Canada, and Singapore add more road racing. Along with the iconic Monaco Grand Prix, these tracks mean street courses make up seven of the 23 rounds in the 2022 season.
The sport will increase this number next year. With the success of the Netflix series Drive to Survive, F1 is attempting to further venture into the US market. As a result, the sport recently announced it would be visiting a new street circuit in Las Vegas from 2023 onwards.
Excitement at a new track in a cool location is building. However, some have expressed reservations about the impact on the calendar.
Fears over loss of historic tracks
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has previously warned against losing some of the sport’s iconic venues. To combat this, the German has suggested a rotational schedule to not totally eliminate historic circuits.
Ferrari man Carlos Sainz seconded this idea, suggesting it as a compromise.
“Obviously, I’m a big fan of having to go to Miami and Vegas, but at the same time, it’s a big loss having to lose classic European races, I think,” said Sainz (quotes via Motorsport Week).
“Hopefully, for the future, we can find a compromise where maybe races that cannot afford to be in the calendar every year, year-in, year-out, can be in the calendar once every two or three years.”
Drivers’ fears of losing historic tracks has even reached the once considered untouchable Monaco Grand Prix. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly said it would be a “shocker” if F1 ever dropped Monaco. However, the Frenchman conceded that it was a possibility.
Now, current F1 champ Max Verstappen has weighed in.
Max Verstappen voices concern for F1 calendar
The Dutchman worried about balancing a 24-race calendar limit and increasing the market.
Verstappen told De Telegraaf (quotes via RacingNews365): “Of course, F1 has to make money and try to make the sport more popular, but it’s also important that the right tracks stay on the calendar and that we don’t just race at street circuits in cities,” said Verstappen. “In the end, these cars are not made for that.”
In his talk with De Telegraaf, Verstappen spoke about his conversations with F1 boss Stefano Domenicali.
“He [Domenicali] understands that the cars may not be made for that too, but he has to take into account his shareholders. It won’t be like it used to be. Entertainment will be more important, but that’s just the world today.”
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