In Formula 1

The 2022 season of
Formula 1
is still largely underway, but one of the hottest topics of debate is definitely about the calendar for next season. Expanding the boundaries of the circus is a rather well-known priority for Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula One Group: the goal is to be able to cover all continents equally without going beyond 25 GPs per year-as per agreements with the teams. However, it will not be planned (at the moment) to exceed 24 stages-which would already be an absolute record. [1]

The 2023 calendar seems to have taken a clear shape judging by the confirmations and goodbyes made official during the summer break. But let’s analyze in order.


Au revoir, Paul Richard

The first illustrious absentee of the upcoming season will be the Paul Richard circuit in France. The inkling that the July race might be the last on French soil was no secret. From the various leaked rumors on the web, we will still see a French Grand Prix but on other tracks and in rotation with other European cities starting in 2024. This is confirmed by Domenicali himself:

“We are in discussions with the French federation and the government, the future will be increasingly tied to promoters who see the organization of a GP as an investment for the country.

Discussions are absolutely open for there to be a bright future. As you know, one of the possibilities could be in finding a proposal with a rotation that would allow everyone to be part of the calendar.” [2]


Still (for a little while?) Spa

Other news that is as recent as it is long-awaited is the confirmation for another year of the Belgian circuit in Formula 1 – considered by many industry experts to be one of the most important in the world. They have a point, given the history it enjoys: first official F1 race held in 1925 and land where Michael Schumacher won his seventh and final world title in 2004. [3]

Its appeal also lies in the sport’s most iconic feats, such as the overtaking of Mika Häkkinen to the German’s damage at the exit of the famous Eau Rouge-Raidillon (translated as “rise of the red waters”-for the river that flows below the bend-and recognized more commonly as Eau Rouge) in the Belgium Grand Prix 2000. It is also sometimes remembered for the dangerous nature of that same corner, paid dearly by young Frenchman Anthoine Hubert (particularly in friendship with Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc) who lost his life during the F2 GP in 2019.

Lurking in the excellent news of his renewal is the specter of years to come, as the agreement was made on the basis of a single season. Will we say goodbye to Spa-Francorchamps from 2024?


Monaco and Monza in the balance: the new that is advancing

That it is the European stages that have to adjust to the “new figures” circulating in Liberty Media ‘s little gem has become quite obvious. Contracts closed both overseas and in the East make it well believed that countries like Qatar (capable of investing $55M per season for 10 years) or Miami (able to derive $350M from the single GP-held last May for the first time) are dictating the pace in recent renewal negotiations. [4]-[5]

Las Vegas itself could become a new benchmark, as F1 has invested $240M in building the appropriate facilities and expects to make $1B within 10 years. [6]

The Monaco street circuit also enjoys great historical appeal, but also various structural and economic privileges. In fact, it is one of the rare places in the world where it is possible to watch the race on private yachts by the sea or from the balconies of buildings overlooking the runway. It is also the circuit that pays the least money to participate currently($15M per season). [4]

Similar argument applies to the Italian Grand Prix, which represents a progenitor not only of Formula 1 but of all motorsport.

This is what Domenicali wanted to declare – about both stages – on the eve of the Belgian GP:

“The financial contribution of investment is very important, but we have always said that historical races even if they cannot guarantee the money that other promoters bring in, they have our full respect.

Monza will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year, and it is an outstanding achievement. But-and I say this as an Italian-I have always said that history is not enough to guarantee a future and Monza needs to update its structure.

We are undoubtedly talking about one of the most iconic circuits ever, but we must also look ahead. We want to carry on traditions, but this should not take for granted that we are always there no matter what.” [7]


Old acquaintances return: South African Grand Prix

As mentioned at the beginning, including all continents in the fight for the world title is a goal of the F1 leadership. Africa is a piece that has been missing for 30 years now and may soon return to Kyalami.

There has been much discussion of an inclusion as early as 2023, but with Spa’s recent confirmation, the chances of seeing it in action may slip to 2024. Nothing is given for certain yet, but the feeling is that to host such an event, a few illustrious European names must step back first.

Chloe Targett-Adams, as Global Director of Race Promotion in F1, said that both Africa and Asia are added values to the circus:

“We have been working for many years to have a foothold in Africa.

Africa and Asia are the short- and medium-term goal, and how we continue to run in Europe is also an important issue, to make sure we keep the heart of the sport.

We are in a wonderful position because everyone wants Formula 1. This gives us the opportunity to create the most strategic and growth-oriented calendar we have been able to do for many years now.” he added. [8]

To sum up, the farewell of the Paul Richard in France and the confirmation of another year for Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium were the most striking news of August. Still to be decided and many fates in the balance. The final verdict will be known around October, with theofficial announcement of the 2023/24 Formula 1 World Championship calendar.

What is certain will be the spectacle of one of the most adrenaline-fueled and followed sports-as never before, thanks to an estimated 1 billion fans-across the global landscape. [9]

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Silvia Schweiger
Silvia Schweiger
Associate Director, Executive Marketing and Commercial at RTR Sports Marketing, a London-based sports marketing company specializing in motorsport for over 25 years.
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