Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has expressed his satisfaction at the state of the sport as it prepares for its biggest ever calendar in 2022.
The Imola native, who has been the CEO of Formula 1 for just under a year, said in his ‘state of the nation’ column that he believes that the sport is heading in the right direction after two difficult years, that were compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are heading in the right direction of achieving a record-breaking 22 Grands Prix in what has been such a complex year with Covid-19. We’ve had to be adaptable, flexible and proactive, but the reward has been a calendar with a strong rhythm considering the circumstances. And this has been made possible thanks to our team here at F1, the FIA, the teams and the promoters.”
“Next year, we’ve launched the calendar with 23 Grands Prix. Thanks to the promoters and the teams, we have adjusted the calendar to start in the middle of March and finish on 20 November, one month before Christmas. We were keen to have the right rhythm for the calendar while also keeping the three-week summer break and giving hard-working personnel enough of a break at the end of the season.”
“Next year will see the arrival of a new experience in Miami. And that comes after the addition of two new venues in Qatar and Saudi Arabia this year. To have three new events in the space of six months shows the sport is in a strong place.”
With the sport rumoured to be returning to Africa, Domenicali has revealed that there has been plenty of interest from several nations who now wish to host a round of the championship.
“We have so many requests to host a Grand Prix. It shows our platform is attractive, with more and more governments seeing it as an opportunity to develop their businesses, local economy and awareness of their community.”
The controversial F1 Sprint, which has been seen at both the British and Italian Grand Prix weekends, is expected to stay for 2022, with Domenicali pleased with the outcome of the first two events.
“We are pleased with the learnings from the first two F1 Sprints. What is clear is that it changes the dynamic of the weekend but we want to wait until the last test in Brazil and then prepare the right package for the future.”
“From a sporting perspective, we have seen that the less time you have to practice, the more unpredictable the action is on track in qualifying and the race. There is some fine-tuning we need to do – but we are working through that now.”
Domenicali also hit back at critics of the idea, arguing that the new format had attracted younger fans.
“It’s always easy to be negative and not change but we push to go in this direction because we see the enthusiasm from young generation and the wider interest from those around the world.”