I don’t envy Sean Bratches and the F1 Group for the task of trying to place more races on the Formula 1 calendar on weekends that don’t have other major sporting events and keeping teams sane with a 21+ race schedule. That is a tall order by anyone’s measure.
That’s exactly what Bratches told Autosport when asked.
“We want to work in partnership with our teams in terms of determining where we go.
“But our view is that we’d like to go above 21 and we want to be a little bit more proactive and go on the offensive in terms of the markets where we go.
“I’ve got an economic impact study in the marketplace right now to really understand the benefits of bringing the Formula 1 circus to a city, a country, a municipality, a principality.
“So as we start identifying an optimal calendar in optimal regions, we can go down and sit with cities and make our case as opposed to what has been a little bit more reactive to bids coming in.”
“We don’t want to have too many back-to-backs,” he said.
“We’re trying to align these things better by territory – the European races, the American races, the Asian races – but it gets difficult in terms of the weather and managing contractual guardrails.”
“We are very interested in doing what’s best for fans, to the extent that there are opportunities to avoid circumstances where there are competitive sports going on,” Bratches said.
“Next year there is a weekend where the Wimbledon final and World Cup final [potentially] take place on the same day as the British Grand Prix.
“It would be suboptimal to have the British Grand Prix on that day.”
Now, Autosport does a very nice job of offering setup verbiage for each of these comments but I reckon you’re sharp enough to get the gist by reading the entire commentary without setup. In fact, I reckon you’re also sharp enough to catch the slight dig at Bernie Ecclestone about how races were handled.
Going from a “you called me” scenario to a “I called you” scenario changes the dynamic of the negotiation as one who has something others desire to one having something they are trying to sell. It’s a slight difference in the case of F1 but a difference nonetheless.
Why expand the calendar? I suspect it is more revenue and possibly a lost revenue vehicle should other races, like Malaysia, leave or fees be reduced in order to host a race. Lower race sanctioning fees could be offset by more races. That’s if the teams can stand the notion.
They won’t like it but they’ll also do it as a large portion of their revenue is through prize money which is derived by sanctioning fees among other things.
How many race would you like to see? How much is enough? Those pesky conflicts and weather issues? Yeah, Bernie had those sorted so Sean’s comments seem like those of a teenager sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time.
At times it almost sounds like the two men, Sean and Chase Carey, are regurgitating things they’ve been told by existing FOM employees and team bosses on how to run F1. It’s odd because you, as a long-time F1 fan, knew many of the details they seem to be wary of these days and that adds some comedy to the criticism they have for the last guy who did the job and knew every finite detail of the sport regardless of his style.
I’m also not quite sure what part of America Sean and Chase come from but between the sideburns and mustache, it seems like it may have been a time instead of a place…say late 1800’s or early 1970’s? I think it’s great and adds some panache to the new owner’s character. One thing Bernie had going for him is the fifth Beatle haircut and it was a bit iconic but I think Chase and Sean may have upped the game.
To be fair, Sean and crew have been doing a fine job of seeking harmony with other series such as MotoGP etc. That’s a positive move.
Hat Tip: Autosport