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Domenicali: 24 F1 races is the "right number" for long term

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali says 24 races is the "right number" of events on the calendar for the long term.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 at the start

F1's calendar ballooned to a record 24 races for 2024 with the addition of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix in November.

The return of Shanghai's Chinese Grand Prix was then cancelled as a result of China's on-going COVID-19 policy, while Imola's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was called off due to severe flooding, reducing the calendar down to 22 races.

The 2024 calendar is expected to feature the same 24 events as this year's schedule, with talks underway to extend the Belgian Grand Prix's contract as a bid to return to South Africa faltered for a second consecutive year.

While 24 is the maximum number of races allowed under the current commercial agreements, there were concerns of F1 trying to push that number even higher in the future amid unease over the toll the calendar takes on F1 personnel.

But, according to F1 CEO Domenicali, the series will continue to target 24 events.

"What we want to do next year is 24 and I think 24 is the right number," Domenicali said on F1's Beyond the Grid podcast. "It’s the number that is required within the market.

"I would say it’s the right balance between that, the complexity of the logistics and of the people that are working.

"I would say this is the number which we should target to be stable for a long time."

Las Vegas track map

Las Vegas track map

Photo by: Liberty Media

Competition for calendar slots has only gotten fiercer amid F1's popularity boom. A comprehensive effort is being made to bring the Spanish Grand Prix to the streets of Madrid, while talk of rotating European rounds remains an option.

"It is true that Madrid wants to host a race in the future, no decision has been taken so far," he added. "That's another great sign of the state of the health of Formula 1.

"Commercial and technical discussion will be taking place in the next couple of months.

"For the best of Formula 1, we will take the right decision, but we need to remember that we still have a contract with Barcelona.

"We are really very, very happy in the way that Barcelona is handling the future because of course, this will help them to react, to push for the improvement that is needed at all levels.

On rotating venues, an option which is not favoured by organisers of the Dutch and Belgian rounds but remains on the table as a long-term solution, Domenicali said: "In Europe, I am expecting to see races where the rotational principle could be applied.

"There are already talks with some of them and this is something that in the next two years we are going to clarify formally."

According to Domenicali, this increased competition is also forcing venues other than Barcelona to bring its infrastructure up to par with some of F1's newer and more glitzy venues, with Spa-Francorchamps' refurbishment a prime example.

"Historical races will always be part of the calendar, but there is the need for some of them to recognise the changes that they have to make on the infrastructure," he explained. "Fans are coming more and more with different needs.

"If you do not give them what they deserve, it’s not historical anymore, is it?

"Two years ago, when there was discussion that Belgium is out of the calendar. The answer was Belgium is on the calendar, but they reacted very well.

"They invested in infrastructure that is related to the best experience that we want to give to the fans."

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