American mass media company Liberty Media has abandoned plans to revamp the Formula One calendar for the 2019 championship, but remain committed to doing so in the future. Commercial chief Sean Bratches has been keen on the idea of “grouping” races together by regions, in order to help ease the pressure on F1 teams in terms of logistics and travel.
However, after recent discussions, Sean Bratches confirmed that he has opted to delay the plans yet he is still hopeful of the revamp: “We are trying to point this ship in that direction which will be much more efficient for fans, because we can navigate them for a period of time in the same timezone.” – Sean Bratches explained, as reported by the British media earlier today – “It will also be more efficient for F1 to avoid the expensive traveling, and it will also create opportunities from a sponsorship standpoint. Because if somebody wants to activate in Europe, or the Americas, or Asia, it is difficult to do as we bounce all around right now. From an aspirational standpoint, I am an optimist – but I am also a realist, and based on some of the contractual commitments we have, and based on weather issues, it will be a while before we can get there – if we can [at all].”
Since taking control of F1, at the start of the 2017 season, Liberty Media has not hidden the fact that they wish to increase the number of Grands Prix in a season to a record 25. It is understood that Liberty want a second race in the United States, possibly in Miami, with Vietnam being the latest country also linked; F1’s presence in South-East Asia has been reduced after Malaysia ended its contract after the ’17 season, with only Singapore hosting a race in the region.
However, Irish-American executive Chase Carey has ruled out a country hosting a race for the sake of it: “We certainly could add races, we’ve got a lot of places that would like to have races – not always places that we’d consider – but I think there are actually quite a number that would be real positives for us. But I think our real focus is to ensure quality over quantity. We have the capacity and the rights to add races, and can ultimately go to 25. Our focus at this point is getting the races to be what they should be, and really all the components behind it. It is not just the race, but it’s the hospitality, local partnerships, the event itself, the cities that support it, the public support to engage, and I think we’ll continue to evolve those opportunities as we deal with renewals.” – the chief executive officer and executive chairman of the Formula One Group concluded.