Over the years, it has been a big ask for F1 to not only expand to newer ares but also keep the old grand prix venues which has history on its side on the calendar.
The current season has at least 15 grand prixs which has history on its side with the likes of Bahrain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi additionally also in the mix considering the number of years it has been on the calendar.
The same events remain on the 2019 calendar after renewal of the races in Belgium, China, Japan, Singapore and Germany – the latter posing the biggest challenge after it was omitted from 2017 and was in the uncertain column for 2019.
For now, with Mercedes backing it remains on the calendar for at least one more season but 2020 could be a different year as not only Germany but also Britain doesn’t have a contract as the lock-jam continues between Liberty Media and the BRDC.
For F1’s Director of Promoters and Business Relations, Chloe Targett-Adams, it is about preserving the heritage venues to make it a formidable calendar as much as possible for which the sport is trying it utmost.
“It’s very important and if you look at what we’ve achieved this year in renewing with Belgium, Germany – not to mention Suzuka, which is a core part of the calendar and which celebrates its 30th grand prix this year – we are really determined to preserve the sport’s heritage as much as possible,” she said ahead of Singapore GP.
“It’s not just those events, though; it’s about maintaining continuity across the schedule. We were successful in renewing with Singapore and China last year as well. Asia is a very important market for us.
“It just shows it’s a really positive future for our race promotion business going forward. Having 21 races again is a big achievement for us and these races are important for all fans of Formula 1. It’s always a challenge when you are looking at the calendar.
“There are so many different factors that come into play. We’re working with each promoter on what’s going on in their region, in their city and their major events calendar, whether there are logistical, weather challenges etc.
“There are always going to be some unfortunate clashes, but we do the best we can to create the most viable calendar possible, a schedule that we hope keeps fans happy from March right through to the beginning of December.”
Talking about the clashes, Admas admitted the triple-header was a unique situation which they would want to avoid in the future. She also touched on next year’s US GP clash with NASCAR which was unavoidable for them.
In fact, the Austin race has been pushed to the weekend after Mexico because of the Mexico promoter’s intention to keep the race around the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival. She also talked on why the Singapore-Sochi was changed to Sochi-Suzuka back-to-back event.
“Mexico’s event has normally fallen around the Day of the Dead festival, which is a huge celebration in Mexico and which the promoter builds into their event spectacle,” she said. “It was important for them to maintain that connection and build up to that event with the Formula 1 race scheduled on the October 27th date.
“It was a collaborative process with each of our race promoters and again I think we arrived at the right solution given what’s happening in the region at the time. With Russia, Singapore and Japan, ultimately it’s not easy to do any of those races back-to-back.
“It’s an incredible logistical feat. For the Sochi-Suzuka leg this year, we have six Jumbos going in and out and a very tight timeframe in Japan. So we were looking at how to make those races work in the most efficient manner for teams, mindful of all those factors.
“Talking with our internal teams and the race promoters, it seemed to come about that Singapore to Sochi and then rest for a week and before going to Japan, was the best outcome that we could reach with all those factors taken into consideration.
“In terms of the timing, you are gaining time by going from Singapore to Sochi, so there is value in that and we also look to keep the continuity in broadcast times between Singapore and Sochi to engage with the widest audience, which is important.”
Meanwhile, looking towards 2019 when China’s Shanghai International Circuit will host the F1’s 1000th event, without revealing much, Adams stated that they have big plans for the F1 grand prix weekend to celebrate a monumental achievement.
About the Author
Darshan Chokhani is a FIA Accredited journalist covering both Indian and International championships, including Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E, World Endurance Championship and more. Although specialising in motor racing, but follows Cricket, Tennis, WWE and events involving Indian athletes.