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Domenicali: Maximum is 25 Grand Prix weekends on F1 calendar

The national flags is flying around the world formula one races Domenicali: Maximum is 25 race weekends for F1 calendar

When are enough Grand Prix weekends enough for Formula 1? The sport’s Chief Stefano Domenicali believes that 25 World Championship rounds are the maximum for a season.

The 2024 F1 World Championship of 24 rounds, is the longest in the sport’s history. However, 20 rounds or more have made up the calendar since 2016 barring 2020 (C19-affected) and demand for races is the highest it’s ever been.

Speaking to select international media, on hot topics in the F1 paddock, ahead of the 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend, 58-year-old Italian Domenicali said: “Today the maximum number of races that can form a calendar is 25, and on my part, there is the will to maintain it.

“To go beyond that would mean jeopardising the momentum we are experiencing, which is characterised by a high appreciation of events thanks to the countries that would like to join the calendar.

“We are seeing a lot of interest from a lot of countries in Formula 1, and this obviously represents an opportunity for development. At the same time, however, it puts us under an obligation to make choices in terms of the calendar.

Formula 1 seeing a growing interest in the Far East and the United States

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 06: Fans supporting Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 6, 2016 in Suzuka. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20161006-01573 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Domenicali continued: “Not only Asia and the Americas, also a revival in Europe, most probably thanks to Madrid, which gave a shake-up just when everyone thought that nobody on the Old World was interested in doing something new.

“You will also see the work done on the Hungaroring circuit, which confirms that the Formula 1 movements are helping to raise the bar for facilities that had remained somewhat sedentary over the years. I say this in a very constructive way.

“If there is no will to invest, work and make projects together, even in the long term, there will be a risk of losing Formula 1. By the end of this year we will have some important choices to make because we are approaching some deadlines (of contracts with the promoters of several Grand Prix) but in terms of health we are in a very positive period.

“Today Formula 1 is definitely the most important sporting platform globally, the World Cup and the Olympics are extraordinary events but they take place every four years, whereas we are there all the time,” ventured the F1 Chief.

This year there are six Sprint Race weekends on the F1 calendar. China and Miami hosted the first two of the 2024 season. However, the popularity of the format is subject to debate. The pro and against crowd about even if not tilted towards the latter.

Domenicali: The numbers tell us that people like the Sprint Race weekends.

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However, the F1 Chief acknowledged: “We know that there is also a more traditionalist part of the public that has been following Formula 1 for a long time, and doesn’t particularly like this format.

“In terms of attractiveness there is no doubt that the ‘sprint’ route is the right one. I believe that the change to the format introduced this year has met the demands of the ‘traditionalists’ by keeping qualifying on Saturday afternoon and opening the parc fermé after the sprint race.

“For my part, I will wait until the end of this season to evaluate the feedback, but I don’t think we will go back. MotoGP has chosen a radical step, introducing the sprint format on all weekends, while we want to go there gradually.

“I am convinced that nowadays a Friday without any official classification loses some of its appeal compared to sprint Fridays, where there is a qualifying session. I repeat, our approach has been cautious to try to understand if the direction was the right one.

“We have corrected some critical points that have emerged in previous years, and at the end of this season,” revealed Domenicali.

In closing the former Ferrari F1 team principal (2008–2014) also touched on another contentious subject: “With regard to the points system in the world championship rankings, there has been a request from some teams to increase the number of points beyond the tenth position.

“We are doing some simulations, but as has always happened in the past when the points allocation system has been changed, we have to be very careful about the drawbacks. At first everyone is happy, then over time, the criticisms emerge.

“But I can say that we will not have a system that awards points to all drivers who start,” insisted Domenicali, was appointed by Liberty Media to succeed Chase Carey as CEO of Formula One Group, a role Domenicali has filled since the start of the 2021 F1 season. (Reporting by Agnes Carlier from Imola)

Big Questions: How many Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends should there be in one season?