Answer me this: How many races does F1 need?

Japanese Grand Prix start, Suzuka, 2006Kicking off a new weekly series we want to hear from you on the big questions in Formula 1.

First up: the calendar.

For decades the F1 calendar hovered at around 16 races, most in Europe. But Bernie Ecclestone has stated his aim of taking it up to 20 races, with more races in more distant places such as Abu Dhabi and South Korea.

Teams complain that too many races is a financial burden and keeps their employees away from their familiar for too long.

But rival championships such as NASCAR have almost one race per weekend with almost 40 slots on its 2007 schedule – giving it far greater public exposure.

Should the F1 calendar be bigger? Is Ecclestone’s target of 20 races enough?

Use the comment form below to have your say.

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14 comments on Answer me this: How many races does F1 need?

  1. Sigmund said on 26th February 2007, 15:10

    The wait in the winter is too long, and the races are to irregular.

    By week 7 and having the last race week 47 you would get twenty races. There would be a race every fortnight, except for the traditional three week summer break. The off season would be cut down to three months. The additional costs could be cut by banning testing and dedicating fridays for that activity, mayby just allow two three day test sessions in the winter.

    I say: minimize the boring winter sessions, and give us more action filled race weekends. It probably would be cheaper than today.

  2. Very easy for us to say, “Yes, give us more races.” All we have to do is sit back and watch while others spend the money and do the work. But this is a complex issue and deserves careful consideration before we give the obvious answer.

    In fact, you’ve got me thinking, Keith. I was going to write about Honda’s new colours today (not easy, since I believe the whole global warming business is unscientific claptrap with a political agenda) but this matter of increasing the numbers of races is much more interesting and I suspect I have a lot to say about it (that seems like a safe bet). Best if I write a post on it, rather than bore your readers with a ridiculously long comment.

    I’ll let you know when it’s done, if you’re interested.

  3. Very Simply F1 races needs to get in the 20’s.

  4. ‘Tis done.

  5. I’d say that the number of races is not too important, as long as it hovers in the late teens. I’m all for more races, but understand the difficulties faced by those involved.

    What I would like is for there to be more interaction with the fans during the off-season. After the last race, it’s usually just sit back, wait for testing, wait for launches, wait for next race.

    More motorsport events, or bigger, more open launches, chances to meet the teams and the drivers, that’s what I’d like to see. F1 would be nothing without their fans but they don’t seem to be as open as I would like them to be.

  6. I agree with the other comments that the winter season is too long and boring. 20 races does not seem so bad, at least the time away is in exotic or interesting places, try being at the same desk day in day out 50 weeks a year! Thats boring and unfair on families ( the number of rows caused by sheet boredom is incedible)

    Another idea would be some sort of interaction on a weekly/Fortnightly basis during the off season. Could not ITV do a round up of the teams activities, how the new car is coming on, testing, talking to the back room boys or the drivers – anything but a cut off and dull wait for the next season.

  7. Having more races is always nice for us and that’s what most of us will always say. But increasing the number of races is not too viable an option. What F1 need is more in-depth coverage of the sport and the people associated with it [as Chris said it above].

    Also F1 needs to goto the masses. Any sport, that needs to be successful, has to gain the fancy of masses and just stating that “we are the ultimate combination of motoring and technology” does not do the trick.

    This also means more transparency in the sports. If people have to hire a rocket-scientist to understand the point system or the qualifying system, they rather won’t watch the sport.

  8. I think two things are key: regularity and frequency. There need to be enough races going on, and often enough, to have an impact.

    I appreciate that Ecclestone only wants to go to quality venues worthy of hosting F1 (and Interlagos).

    But, as ever, I’m concerned that an opportunity to raise the sport’s profile is being missed. They should keep scaling down testing and increasing the racing instead.

  9. Number 38 (@) said on 28th February 2007, 8:46

    Everyone’s got an opinion and for once many of us seem to be ‘on the same page’ so to speak, more racing less testing.
    Considering the cost of travel F1 ought to have ALL the circuit time to itself, we don’t buy an F1 ticket to watch silly support races and the like. ALL day Friday practice and testing including the teams third driver. Three 90 minute or two hour sessions…..PLENTY of test time. Saturday morning two hours test time followed by a short race , 15 laps for the 3rd drivers. Saturday afternoon old fashioned one hour open qualifying with an mimimum number of laps in the first 1/2 hour and mimimum number of laps in the second 1/2 hour. This is qualifying under race conditions!
    No fuel restrictions or other limitations, we’re here to race not play stradegy games. Between race testing limited to 3 days between races. This plan could be tailored an bit but the idea is to put F1 back in the ticket price, provide teams more test time on the circuit they will actually race on and train 3rd drivers, I can’t stand paying a price to see over-hyped rookies training! Rookies should have at least 10,000 km F1 testing in their logbook before they can RACE.
    WE get more racing per event, THEY get better testing as it is at race venues, costs are easily reduced 10 to 20 percent
    and I would gamble with more F1 track time TV revenues would increase at least somewhat. The plan is win-win for everyone, are Mosley and Eccestone listening?

  10. Anthony C said on 15th March 2007, 16:47

    20 races would be splendid..the more the merrier. Unfortunately there is a large financial burden being placed on teams that dont have a 400 million dollar budget and more races might see the smaller teams not show up. If the recent trend of banning tobacco adverts at races were to be reversed we might see some more spending and those lower budget teams being more competitive. I agree that waiting 4 months for team launches and testing does get very tedious and mind numbing and more races would be GREAT!!!!!!! I dont think taking the current schedule and spreading it out more is a grand idea either. 2-3 weeks between races makes my fingernails disappear because of the anticipation i have for F1. nascar is a different boat and i hate hearing F1 and nascar mentioned in the same sentence. Nascar i believe has too many races and listening to the drivers and crew in interviews some share the same sentiment. 9 months of F1 would be grand for me, but i realize that you cant always have your cake and eat it. I can definately see another couple races being added to the F1 lineup and at great raceways and exotic locations. Me being a Seattle-ite and seeing F1 in places like Bahrain and Hungary and Monza is awesome. I love seeing the international appeal of F1 and expansion to tracks in South Korea and Abu Dhabi, thats great exposure to the world for F1. yes to a couple more races! no to a year filled with back to back races and monotony similar to nascar. Although F1 does turn both ways on the track and therefore is superior in nature de facto. :)

  11. Ray Seals said on 11th July 2007, 1:08

    I’m one of those rare Americans who don’t care much for racing family sedans – 16 or 20 F1 races is fine by me so long as one of them is in the US where I can attend.

  12. Robert McKay said on 11th July 2007, 10:55

    20 exactly.

    The teams don’t need to go testing so much, especially during the season. They had a Sepang test before the Malaysian GP. There was a Silverstone test recently, a Spa test this week. The money saved on not testing so much can be put towards racing more, plus the extra revenue it’ll generate Bernie can be shared out a bit more fairly. Too many more becomes unfair on the people working at each race, but whilst you have separate race and test teams that’s hard for the teams to argue currently.

  13. One every two weeks, from February or early March to late October or early November – with a three-week break in July or August. The two weeks are necessary to us to proper one race and to get properly excited over the next. And the teams need the three-week break to see their families. So depending on how flexible circuits are with their contracting, an ideal season length for me would be between 14 and 18 races. Maybe I’m just a tradionalist here…

  14. shahzad said on 19th August 2007, 2:34

    well,
    i agree with 20 races but i dont agree with reducing the testing!
    its very integral for a team to test their cars to improve reliability and performance,
    no one wants 2 see a gp with half the racers out of the race due to reliebility!
    best thing would be to cut down the summer break and extent the calender by starting a week early and finishing a week later!
    20 gp can easily be accomodated!

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