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F1 sets sight on rotating 24-race calendar

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F1 sets sight on rotating 24-race calendar
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Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says that the organisation is targeting a calendar of 24 races “in the next few years” – with some events rotating.

A 23-race calendar for 2021 was announced earlier this month, featuring a new event in Saudi Arabia, but with no confirmation yet of what will replace the cancelled Vietnam GP.

Drivers and team principals have made it clear that 23 represents a tough target, especially for mechanics and other travelling crew members.

However, Carey says that the longer term plan is to extend the schedule even further, with the new or revived races added this year on the list of possible candidates.

“Looking beyond 2021, we continue to feel great about the excitement from locations around the world in hosting F1,” said Carey in a speech to a virtual meeting of investors.

“Many locations we raced at this year expressed great interest in new races and other countries have stronger than ever interest.

“We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years, and will probably rotate a few races so we will be able to accommodate a few new partners.

“But they will be limited as long-term partnerships continue to be our priority.”

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Carey insisted that despite the challenges created by COVID-19 the sport will be able to operate close to normal in 2021.

“We have not only maintained but strengthened the relationship with our promoters,” he said. “We have completed renewals for next year on improved terms.

“We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.

“We will also look to bringing the Paddock Club back to our events. We have great plans for the Paddock Club, which were deferred this year, and expect it to be a significant contributor to our long-term growth.

“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus.

“In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”

Carey, who hands his job to Stefano Domenicali in January, believes that the sport will be in a healthy state in the coming years.

“We have successfully weathered the challenges of the virus in 2020,” he said. 

“We are planning for a world that begins to move forward in 2021, and have been clear with all our partners as it relates to those expectations.

“We have an even more exciting 2022 right behind it, with new cars and regulations to energise competition and action on the track, with a healthier business model to broaden the appeal of the sport.

“That being said, we recognise that we do not have a crystal ball as it relates to the virus, so we will be prepared for the unknown.

“But what we are certain of is that when the world moves past the virus that F1 will be prepared to pick up where we were before the virus interruption.

“We believe the world will value unique events live and on screens as much as ever, that countries will want a platform to connect with a world that is sick of being cooped up, and the unique combination of an incredible sport married to state of the art technology will uniquely position us for success.”

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper