The Formula 1 calendar will most likely include more than 21 races in the next few years as the sport’s new owner, American mass media company Liberty Media, goes “on the offensive” to create events in new major markets. Liberty Media completed its takeover of Formula 1 back in January, ending previous ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone‘s 40-year reign and replacing him with American businessman Chase Carey in the role of CEO and chairman.
Chase Carey then appointed Sean Bratches into a chief commercial role for F1, with Liberty keen on widening the sport’s reach and reception across the globe. As part of this, an expanded calendar will most likely follow during the next seasons. The 2017 schedule stands at 20 races, while 21 events are set for 2021 after the addition of France and Germany and the loss of Malaysia. Speaking to Reuters, Managing Director Sean Bratches openly stated that Liberty Media will not be capping the calendar at 21 races, instead looking for more events beyond that number as part of an aggressive drive to expand F1:
“We want to work in partnership with our teams in terms of determining where we go, but our view is that we’d like to go above 21. And we want to be a little bit more proactive and go on the offensive in terms of the markets where we go. As we start identifying an optimal calendar in optimal regions, we can go down and sit with cities and make our case as opposed to what has been a little bit more reactive to bids coming in.” – Sean Bratches explained.
F1’s new managing director of commercial operations then added that the sport’s new owner would be working to prevent clashes between F1 races and big sporting events, giving the example next year when one weekend in July will schedule both the FIFA World Cup final and the finals’ day at Wimbledon take place: “We are very interested in doing what is best for Formula One fans. Next year there is a weekend where the Wimbledon final and World Cup final take place on the same day. It would be sub-optimal to have the British Grand Prix on that day. It is a tight schedule.” – Sean Bratches continued, but not without saying that the current summer break and enforced team shut down through August would remain unchanged, believing it to be necessary for the traveling paddock to get some respite: “We are trying to be respectful to everyone in F1, including journalists, to ensure everyone has an appropriate break with their families and some downtime.”