Today, Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed to Sky Sports F1 that the series is eager to capitalize on the growing hype surrounding the sport by packing in up to 30 races per year — including events in Las Vegas, Nevada and Africa.
Did you get tired reading that? Because I got tired reading that.
To put it pretty simply, F1 has seen a resurgence of interest as a result of things like Drive to Survive, the Netflix series that follows the sport — and it’s also finally found a foothold in America, which has largely been an untapped market. It sounds like F1 is chomping at the bit to get a chance to bring as many people to the track as possible, considering the new Miami Grand Prix and the renewal of Circuit of the Americas’ contract for the coming years.
And there’s also been a growth of interest in Africa — including a return to the Kyalami track in South Africa. That, too, is on the table for consideration.
Right now, though, there’s a catch: F1's current Concorde Agreement, or the rules by which everyone in the sport agrees to compete, only allows for a maximum of 24 races per year until 2024, and if everything goes according to plan in 2022, we’ll have a record-breaking 23 events. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room to add new races without removing some in turn.
The solution? Well, I’ll let Domenicali say it so I don’t have to: “There are some promoters who have expiring agreements, and probably some of the current grands prix will no longer be part of the calendar.”
Right now, one of the biggest tracks on the chopping block is the iconic Spa-Francorchamps — though the removal of the Russian Grand Prix is said to leave a place for a renewal.
And to make matters even worse, once the current Concorde Agreement has expired, Domenicali joked that F1 could see up to 30 races per year — which isn’t exactly a good thing considering how many traveling F1 employees already feel overworked and burned out. The NASCAR Cup Series has similar concerns with exhaustion thanks to its 36-race calendar, and it’s a sport that contests within a single country, not all over the world. As one person on Twitter put it, this sounds like a massive oversupply of demand.
While I do think there’s a growing market for F1, I don’t know that the answer is jamming more races into the calendar — especially if Las Vegas follows in Miami’s footsteps by becoming an ultra-expensive event that continues to bar an average fan from attending.