F1 has had 40 approaches from new GP venues

Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches says there have been around 40 expressions of interest from potential grand prix venues since Liberty Media took over earlier this year.

F1 has had 40 approaches from new GP venues
Sean Bratches, Formula One Managing Director, Commercial Operations
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, the rest of the pack at the start
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70-H leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70-H at the start of the race
Track logo
 Fans watch Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, lead Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36, brings up the rear of a midfield straggle at the start
 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Bratches says that F1 will choose new events on the basis of what they can bring to the sport, with a focus on street races in major cities, rather than automatically taking the best commercial deals.

He also wants to split the season by region, with races in Europe, Asia and the Americas grouped together, to aid with both logistics and marketing.

“Right now by the operation of the Concorde Agreement, the cap is 25,” he said. “In the seven months I’ve been in this job I’ve probably had about 40 countries, cities, municipalities, principalities approach me about interest in hosting an F1 race, which is extremely encouraging.

"I think it’s representative of the brand, and what people are trying to do locally for fans, and drive visibility and scope for their business.

“As we look at the race calendar, we’re looking to do a number of things. Historically it’s been a very reactive process in terms of cities coming to F1 with interest.

"I think from a brand standpoint we’re trying to pivot and become much more proactive in identifying cities and locations that are accretive to our brand and our strategy of hosting races where you can activate large fanbases – particularly in city centres.”

Bratches doesn’t expect to see more permanent Tilke-style tracks built in deserts, on swamps, or on farmland: “In terms of the next tranche of where we’re going, I don’t think you’re going to have too many more purpose-built tracks built.

“We’re going to have an apportionment between city tracks, heritage tracks, and purpose-built. The next objective is to put our shoulders behind more city races. For the reasons I stated, we think that’s a very attractive proposition from our perspective.”

Asked which current races do not contribute enough to survive, he said: “We love all our children! I think as we look at the apportionment of races by region, you’re going to see some fall out, and some added. We are very anxious to maximise the opportunities of these grands prix.”

Bratches says that grouping races by regions will be of benefit, especially in terms of transport costs. However, he also believes that it will be good for fans.

"Right now we’re jumping all over the globe with no thoughtful cadence. In an ideal world, and forget the order, but you’d have kind of the first third of the races in Europe, the second third in the Americas, and the last tranche in Asia.

“What that does is allow you create efficiencies in terms of travelling this circus. When we go through Europe, there are 350 18-wheelers that take it around, and north of 10 747s that fly us around the world. So creating efficiencies is I think a big opportunity.

“The other opportunity from a fan standpoint is being able to say to a fan [that] for the next two or three months you’re going to have to get up early to watch the grands prix, and for the next two months it’s midday, and [then] night. So for a navigation of fans to drive audience and viewership, I think it’s very interesting."

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