Why the calendar is not by geographical proximity?

Why the calendar is not by geographical proximity?

Whenever Formula 1 releases a new calendar, the same question arises: Why isn’t the category grouping geographically close general practitioners? Especially in times when the sport is looking for ways to be more sustainable, reducing travel hours makes perfect sense, and F1’s commercial rights holders, Liberty Media, had this in mind when they took over the class in 2017. But they ended up finding that the mission It is not as simple as it seems.

The 2022 season, which will be the longest in history, starts with 23 races, with one – two (i.e. two races on weekends in a row) and it makes sense: Bahrain (where the final tests will take place before the championship begins) and Saudi Arabia. But then it was Melbourne, Imola (on a date that would, in fact, be China), Miami and Spain. And whoever thinks that from the Spanish stage onwards, the Formula 1 race continues in Europe, he is mistaken, as there is a race in Canada at the beginning of June that precedes the race in Azerbaijan – stages that have been conducted without interruption, in other words, a weakness in places separated by almost 9000 km.

This happens for a number of reasons. The first is that appointments for some GPs are guaranteed by contract. Montreal, Singapore and Monaco are three good examples. Other than that, the class is always at the mercy of countries that spend more money to participate in the race, such as Azerbaijan and Russia.

This brings us to the pressure on the category of promoters to pick dates. In China, for example, the race almost always avoids competing with the Qingming Festival, a long holiday in which Shanghai is empty. In São Paulo, an event in which the majority of people in the stands come from outside the capital, the idea was the opposite: the advantage was that the competition coincide with the public advertising holiday. In the accounts of the city government of São Paulo, which bears the fees for taking the test, the pool grows by as much as 25% (from 100 to 140 million more) when the GP falls on holiday. In Japan, the thinking is the same, and the test is always done on the Sunday before the country’s sports holiday.

The Singapore GP is an example of a race whose date is set by contract

Imagem: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Liberty is responsible for fulfilling these requests because, if the event attracts more people, they can also charge extra for it, always remembering that this money is, in part, passed on to the teams, who end up agreeing to the often impractical calendar From a logistical point of view for financial reasons.

A good example of this is the series of three consecutive weekend races, which debuted in 2018 at the expense of the World Cup. They returned last year with the pandemic justified, continued into 2021 for the same reason, and are due to be scheduled again in 2022: There will be six races in seven consecutive weekends, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Singapore and Japan.

For teams, a sequence like the latter also leads to savings because if GPs in Singapore and Japan are separated, for example, for two weeks, the staff and equipment will go back to Europe. So it’s a way to make more money and spend less, even if it exhausts the professionals.

“I think we have to be realistic and not expect us to do more races, make more income, in a shorter period of time, without that kind of sequel. Of course we can shorten the weekend format, make it a three-day event,” said Fred Vasseur, Alpha President. Romeo, but we are happy with the success and demand in Formula 1. It is positive that we are not complaining because we do not do many races. Their peers argue that it is really good that F1 is expanding its schedule (six years ago there were 19 races) without having to race Between December and the end of March.

But the issue of holidays and dates specified in the contract is not the only one that affects the calendar. It is usual for organizers to not want their competitions to compete for audience with others who are geographically close, especially in the case of general practitioners who have many fans from abroad, such as Azerbaijan or Abu Dhabi, for example. In the Emirates, for years, an additional Yas Marina GP race fee has been paid to close out the season.

Climate barriers

RUSSIA - Rudy KERZEVOLI / Getty Images / Red Bull - Rudy KERZEVOLI / Getty Images / Red Bull

The Russian GP will have to change the date from 2023, when it starts playing in St. Petersburg

Image: Rudy Kerzivoli / Getty Images / Red Bull

Finally, since this is an outdoor event, the weather factor has to play its part. It is impractical to think of racing in the Middle East in the summer there (mid-year), in the same way that European racing cannot be conducted at the beginning or end of the year.

This happens both for the event to be more attractive to the public, and for the operation of the cars and tires, which work best when the ambient temperature does not fall below 10 ° C and does not exceed 35 ° C. And F1 is also trying to avoid events with heavy rain – the Brazilian race, for example, went from March to November, largely because of this.

Incidentally, speaking of the climate issue, from 2023 onwards the class will have another race to accommodate in the middle of the already densely populated year, as the Russian Grand Prix will move from Sochi, the southernmost city in the country that has a moderate degree. The climate is outside the summer, to St. Petersburg, where it will not be possible to conduct a GP at the end of September, as it is today.

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