The past season of 2020 included three triple headers, which although have been definitely interesting for the fans, were extremely straining for the team crews that had to work hard in order to get the entire circus going. Despite the strain, the 2021 calendar features again 3 different triple headers. The biggest problem is posed by the Russia-Singapore-Japan one, which brings a big logistical challenge for the teams.
The new CEO of F1 Stefano Domenicali has explained that in order to run a full calendar of races, the triple headers are unfortunately a necessary evil, but the sport will try to create their future calendars post-pandemic in a way that stays away from them as much as it’s possible.
As he said: “For sure it is something that is delicate and we need to manage it, but we don’t have to forget there are people that have lost their jobs, there are people who are suffering a lot, so I think that it is better to put that into perspective. I know that it’s difficult for all the families and all the people to stay out and work hard, but on the other hand, we need to respect all the people that don’t have this opportunity. In the short-term this year, that was the only way to try to keep the COVID effect as minimal as possible, because if we would have done more races at the beginning, the risk would have been higher. Therefore that is the reason why we have moved to the second half of the season this situation.”
Domenicali believes that a more balanced calendar in the upcoming seasons would allow to spread the races better. As he said in an interview: “We need to be more balanced, and I really hope next year, when the situation should be more stable in that respect, we’re going to avoid as much as possible the triple-headers because I understand what are the limits,” he said. “Also consider the logistic implications that we [F1] have to handle. I would say this year, it’s a factor that we need to digest, and for the benefit of our business, it was the only way to progress with the objective that we had to achieve this season.”
Domenicali spoke also about the possibility of adding new venues to the upcoming calendars, because an increasing amount of venues that has been interested in hosting races. Including a possible comeback to Africa, it does not necessarily mean that the calendar will actually expand the number of races.
As he said: “There are areas that I can tell you that have shown interest, which is basically in North Africa and South Africa. This is something that's very important, I think, in terms of having a new place or an old place with a great heritage back in F1. And I can tell you that we don't have to forget that we have lost some European races that now are showing the interest to be considered again. So what is going to happen in the future is that we need to decide what is the right balance in terms of number of races. What are the areas that we need to strategically invest in for teams, and in terms of interest for broadcast, for media, for sponsors and then decide what would be the right way to go, knowing that 23 races is at the top end of the scale of what we are doing today.”
He added: “For sure, if we are producing a good product, you may say that if the value is high, you may reach the same kind of business [income] without being too numerous in terms of races. And that could be the approach if you're able to do the right choices. I think that that would be the way to go. It will not maybe [happen] in the shortest time, but that's the target I would say.”