Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes that Formula 1 should cap its annual calendar at 23 races, a tally he already rates as “an insane amount of racing and mileage”.
Formula 1’s 2023 schedule initially included 24 rounds, but the sport’s programme has been reduced to 22 races in the wake of the cancellation on Wednesday of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which follows the scrapping at the end of last year of the Chinese Grand Prix that was due to take place in April.
In an interview with the Financial Times published before the cancellation of this week’s event at Imola, Horner expressed his view on Formula 1’s seemingly endless quest to add more races to its schedule.
“I think for me, 23 is the top end,” said the Red Bull chief. “I mean we’re just about to go into a triple header off the back of a doubleheader.
“We’ve just gone from Azerbaijan to Miami and then we come back and three in Europe. It’s brutal, that travel schedule.
“I think you get to a point where, you know, 23 Sundays a year, for people to go and take two hours out of their Sunday afternoon or evening. It’s a big commitment to follow a whole season, I think.
“So I think that’s enough.”
Horner acknowledges the benefits for the sport of adding to its calendar high-profile ‘destination cities’ such as Miami and Las Vegas.
But the Briton warns that the advent of the latter is pushing the calendar into a red zone while putting at risk Grand Prix racing’s core historical venues.
“They play the same trick every year,” Horner said. “He [F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali] said, ‘We can’t lose Monaco, we can’t lose Monza, we can’t lose Silverstone’.
“And then he says, ‘You’ve heard about Las Vegas.’ Okay, we’ll go to Vegas. ‘What about Miami?’ Yeah, alright we’ll go there too.
“And they just keep coming up with great venues and great races, and it’s difficult to say no.
“But you do reach a point where you wonder where you get oversaturation and 23 is an insane amount of racing and mileage that we have to cover in a season.”
With demand from new promoters from all over the world rising every year, Formula 1’s expansion may continue.
But Horner reckons that it would be better for the sport to consider a reasonable number of events with a blend of old and new circuits contending for a spot on the calendar.
“I think it’s better to have competition for the existing venues than to just keep adding more and more because you do get to a breaking point which I don’t feel we’re that far from,” he concluded.
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