F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

Tyres Northampton News

F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

Published:
September 23, 2022
Last Updated:
September 23, 2022

The FIA has published the 2023 Formula One calendar, which will see the sport hit a record 24 races in one season. The unveiling showcases the introduction of the already-known Las Vegas Grand Prix, plus the beginning of a permanent spot for Qatar. In addition, the Chinese GP, missing since 2019, is set for a return, but France will make way for the new additions, and the Russian GP is unsurprisingly absent after F1 dropped it earlier this year.

For all the positive language used, with expressions like "record-breaking" and "unprecedented demand" featured in the press release, the announcement wasn't met with equal fondness elsewhere. Fans have derided the sport's money-chasing ways, with Saudi Arabia remaining on the calendar, despite the human rights issues plaguing the country (and missile strikes over the GP weekend this year) together with the equally criticised Qatar beginning a 10-year contract reportedly worth $55 million a year.

F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

Paddock Problems

Even within the sport, the extensive calendar has had a lukewarm response, with teams finding 24 races as their limit for the globetrotting circus. The once-rare double-header, where there are two races on successive weekends, has become a regular occurrence. Azerbaijan and Miami, Austria and Britain, Hungary and Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, Singapore and Japan, and Vegas and Abu Dhabi represent back-to-back events across half the season.

Furthermore, Imola, Monaco, and Spain, plus the US, Mexican, and Brazilian events, will see two exhausting triple-headers for the teams and on-site media personnel to work through. For those travelling to every race on the calendar, these races represent a gruelling time away from home and their families. Logistical expenses aside, the human cost for those who are part of the paddock is a consideration that seems overlooked when pursuing a longer season that few voices are asking for.

F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

Communication Breakdown

Another controversial element of the announcement is the apparent lack of discussion or approval between the FIA, Formula One, and the teams. Reports suggest that the FIA's release didn't come with prior backing from the constructors. Although they ordinarily don't oppose a calendar, the lack of consultation wasn't appreciated, especially with the triple-header in the Americas.

Formula One also lost the opportunity to release the news that Monaco will return for another three seasons in a separate announcement. The FIA's calendar had the Monte Carlo circuit in its usual May slot, even though speculation had surrounded the future of the so-called "jewel in the crown" event. This FIA announcement meant the story of Monaco remaining broke rather mutedly.

While inconsequential to the broader picture, the recent press from F1 about circuit contracts has been handled in a way befitting the sport's Drive to Survive Hollywood-esque style. In other words, bombastically. The FIA and F1 are usually so synonymous with one another that it's noteworthy to see a lack of synchronicity between the two bodies.

F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

A Bigger Calendar? Yes. A Better Calendar?

While there was little in the way of shock from the 2023 calendar, there was plenty to unpick. France is gone, and although many originally lambasted the circuit for dull races, the last two seasons showed much improvement. Replacing it is the street race at Vegas and a long-term deal with Qatar, where racing will continue at the Losail Circuit that held a Grand Prix in 2021. Both certainly make the calendar less European-focused, but whether that translates to better is less clear.

However, the waters muddy even further when considering F1 is dropping France but is signing a three-year Monaco contract. For all the prestige Monaco continues to have in Formula One, every passing year seems to show how completely unsuitable the circuit is with modern-generation cars. Perhaps the continuation of its presence in the sport best highlights the general feeling over F1's ever-growing calendar – out of touch with reality.

Last year was a perfect demonstration of how fantastic Formula One can be, and that was with a 22-race calendar. There's no reason to believe the Titanic title duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen would've been better with two more races. Sadly, it seems the powers that be seem to think quantity, not quality, is the winning formula for Formula One.

F1's 24-race 2023; Calendar Bigger and Better?

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