Domenicali says F1 could reduce and rotate races in future
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One is still aiming for a record 23 grands prix this year but could have fewer in future with some held in rotation, the sport’s new chief executive Stefano Domenicali said on Wednesday.
The Italian, a former Ferrari team boss and most recently CEO of supercar maker Lamborghini, told Sky Sports television that this year would require a flexible approach due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A revised calendar was issued this month, with Australia postponed from the season-opening slot to November and Italy’s Imola brought in as the second round with China looking uncertain.
Bahrain is now the opener on March 28.
“Twenty three races is a very important number of races, no doubt,” said Domenicali, adding that for some it was too many and for others not a problem.
“I would say that this equation will solve itself by the fact that if we’re able to deliver an incredible product, we may go to a situation where maybe we can go back to a fewer number of races.
“Then maybe the chance of a rotation is possible for certain Grands Prix, keeping a focus on different areas. This is something that is in our plan to think about carefully this year, getting ready for when the world is normal again.”
Domenicali’s predecessor Chase Carey spoke in November of plans to expand to 24 races.
The sport planned 22 rounds last year but ended up with only 17, and showcase street races such as Monaco and Singapore cancelled.
Some of the circuits — such as Italy’s Mugello and Portugal’s Algarve circuit — hosted grands prix for the first time while others returned after long absences.
Domenicali said he was speaking daily with race organisers and all were keen to go ahead with the calendar.
“Of course we need to be flexible enough to understand that maybe in the first part of the season we may have some events with no public or with restricted members of the public,” he added.
“But what I can assure our supporters, our fans, is that really we want to make sure that the season is there.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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