F1 won’t lose Europe race focus amid Africa and Asia calendar plans

Amid growing indications that a South African race in Kyalami is F1’s next target, and potentially as early as next year if the logistics can be sorted, it is looking increasingly likely that there will be some form of calendar shake up on the cards.

The F1 schedule is currently capped at 24 races, and the addition of grands prix in Las Vegas and Qatar in 2023, as well as a desire to group races regionally, means some current events could fall by the wayside.

Indications point to the French Grand Prix taking place every other year, and the Belgian GP could also lose a regular slot on the schedule.

The future of the Monaco GP is also not guaranteed, with F1 demanding a series of concessions if the famous principality is to secure a fresh contract.

F1 owner Liberty Media has focused efforts in the last few years on expanding the championship’s reach in the United States, and the addition of Miami and Las Vegas alongside Austin means that mission has now been achieved.

Speaking at the Business of F1 Forum organised by the Financial Times and Motorsport Network in Monaco on Friday, Domenicali said attention was now shifting to Africa and Asia.

However, he made it clear that F1 was not about to ditch a number of classic European races simply to add fresh markets.

“There are areas of the world that want to have Formula 1, and I think that one area that we want to develop is the African area,” he said. “We are a world championship, and that’s an area where we are not there.

“We are working very hard to make sure of this scenario, where we are going to have a grand prix soon, and then there is the interest of the Far East.

“But we don’t want to lose the interest, of course, of Europe. We were born here, and we will stay here.

Stefano Domenicali , F1 CEO, Greg Maffei, Liberty Media CEO, James Allen, President Motorsport Network

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“I hear a lot of voices that are not true. I mean, the beauty of the situation we’re living in today is that we have a lot of options. And we’re going to make the right decision, thinking about the strategy, thinking about the DNA of the sport, thinking about how every promoter wants to be involved with us.”

Speaking at the same event, F1’s global director of race promotion Chloe Targett-Adams, said that the series was focused on getting the right balance of new markets and the traditional European venues.

“We’re a global sport, we need global traction,” she said. “A foothold in Africa is something that we’ve been working on for many years now.

“COVID showed us that we can race quickly, but really to get where we want to be strategically, to build the sport, and build the fan base, it is a kind of a couple of years’ process.

“The US is still very much in our sights, and Africa and Asia, I think is where we need to be.

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“If you look at China, with the way COVID has happened, we’ve been out of that market for now coming on three years, and next year is still a question mark.

“How we race in Europe is also a big question: making sure we really keep that heartland of the sport.

“But it’s a wonderful position to be in because everyone wants a race. That just gives us the best opportunity to create the most strategically focused, growth driven calendar that we’ve been able to do for many, many years.”

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