Formula 1 teams are not expecting to face another triple-header of race weekends in the near future, despite the potential for more events in coming seasons.
This year saw the French, Austrian and British rounds held on consecutive weekends in order to avoid a clash with the World Cup final on Sunday. Such a schedule was the first time F1 had attempted a triple-header, and also comes as part of five races in six weeks, but McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes a similar situation will be avoided even as Liberty Media looks to expand the calendar in future.
“I think it’s been difficult, the three races back to back,” Brown said. “My understand is it’s most likely not going to have a triple-header again next year. That’s what was discussed at the FOM strategy meeting … but I don’t think that’s set in stone. If we have to do three again, we obviously will.
“I think most of the teams, if not all of the teams — I’ll let them speak for themselves — would probably not prefer three races. And as far as the expanded calendar, that discussion I don’t think applies to 2019. The conversation around 22-23 races is, I think, a few years out.
“I think we’ll probably see 20, maybe 21 again, next year,” Brown added. “And as far as having 23 races, you have to take budget into consideration, and we obviously have budget caps coming, which we support and is going to be very healthy for the sport and the competition.
“We need to take into consideration all the men and women that work at these racing teams and travel and the big sacrifices they already make to go to 21 grands prix. But at the same time, commercially, if you put another two or three races on the calendar — a Miami, a New York, another one in Asia, some big markets — it’s pretty attractive commercially to our partners to go there. I don’t think there’s a magic number. We’ll ultimately race at however many are put on the calendar.”
Brown’s comments were echoed by Claire Williams, who believes the way a race weekend is run will need to be analyzed if more rounds are to be held.
“As Zak said, I don’t believe a triple-header will appear on the calendar again,” Williams said. “I think maybe we’ve learned our lesson that it is quite a tough gig for everybody.
“And as far as more races coming on the calendar in the next few years, great from an entertainment perspective for our fans. Great to have different locations coming on the calendar — particularly for partners if they’re activating in those markets. As long as that’s balanced and race weekends are looked at in their entirety, maybe to shorten them to mean that people are away from home [only] as much as they possibly need to be — I think that’s important.”