In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1, CEO and President of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali has discussed the addition of the Qatar Grand Prix which was announced last week, thanking the event organisers and citing the complexity of organising the current calendar due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions around the world. When quizzed by Sky Sports F1 on the backlash from fans at the addition of the Qatar GP, Domenicali defended the decision.
“We are talking about sport, we are talking about a platform that has the objective of creating fun and unifying people and I think this is always the case. Sport will help to enhance the positivity and the right values in each country that we are going to,” said Domenicali. “The spotlight of Formula 1 is so big that you can’t hide. Therefore I think it is making sure the things that everyone at this level are promising are delivered.”
Domenicali continued to discuss the 2022 calendar which is yet to be confirmed, however he confirmed there will be 23 races.
“I can anticipate that, for sure, the calendar will be done with 23 races," said Domenicali.
"Of course we will be very respectful towards the Covid regulations issued around the world from the different governments. But that is our aim that F1 can give this sign of hope and to go to normal things to enjoy.”
He continued to discuss the emphasis on flow with next year's calendar, which will be more condensed than this year, running from mid March until mid November.
“The idea is to make sure there is the right rhythm to the calendar. There are of course considerations related to periods to make sure logistically the flow has to be right.
"One thing I can tell you, without discovering too many things is that next year the season will start in the middle of March and will finish in the middle of November."
The confirmation of a 23 race calendar as well as a more condensed running period indicates there will be a number of intense triple-headers throughout the season. While Domenicali did not indicate during which time slots each race would take place, he did reveal there is a plan in place to include more sprint races following the “great success” and “positive feedback” of the trials this season.
"We said at the beginning of the year there would be three tests this year to make sure we have the right plan for the future," he said. "The vast majority of the comments we received were super positive. Promoters are super happy because there is something new and important on Friday and Saturday and Sunday.
"We are receiving this positive feedback therefore we need to know next year we have a great plan where we will consider also the points highlighted by people who did not like this format. Generally speaking it has been an incredible success.”
Domenicali continued: "I can say we will not go everywhere with the Sprint qualy format. It is something we want to keep for one third of the races more or less and to connect with a certain different way of giving rewards and points and to connect with specific circuits that as you know would make the difference.
"So there is a lot of food for thought. We will involve all the stakeholders: broadcasters, drivers, teams, promoters and fans. We won't forget our role is to take the right decision and to consider all the points and points of view of everyone.”