The ultimate question, one that pre-dates Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey, is how many races per season are the teams willing to participate in and how many is too many?
For the past 5-7 years, there race calendar has always hovered around 20 races and there was verbiage about payments or final approval rights for and by the teams if the calendar were to grow beyond 21 races. The logistics as well as wear and tear on the teams is tremendous and some aren’t keen for a much bigger season. It’s expensive.
However, Carey does say that the interest in hosting an F1 race is very large. This is a talking point the previous CEO rarely discussed but Chase say they are assessing these interests, and it includes Asia.
“We have not really targeted a number of races,” Carey said.
“We know there’s an opportunity to add them, but we want to engage more with teams before we get into the specifics.
“The breadth of interest from players, from locations that know what it takes to host an F1 race – I could fill a page with the number of locations that have asked to meet and discuss the opportunity to host an F1 race.”
Liberty Media were very keen to suggest, before purchasing F1, that they are more interested in European races and even slated the Baku Grand Prix. This resonated with many F1 fans but I can’t help but think they are soft serving a bit on the mention of AsiaPac race possibilities.
When nodding to Europe, fans were excited because AsiaPac was where Carey’s predecessor found the cash to keep the series flush and I’m not sure what might have changed to reverse that business model unless F1 wants to reduce sanctioning fees for European races and that’s not a path they want to go down as everyone would want a cut rate.
“We are trying to engage with as many of them as possible, and evaluate them,” said Carey.
“Both in markets like Europe, which are obviously much more historical markets, as well as opportunities in the Americas and Asia.
“We want to make sure we understand what each of those opportunities mean to us as we go forward, although in many ways priority one is to make sure the 21 races that we’ll have next year as successful as possible.”
It would be interesting to know what the Chinese or Singapore grands prix mean to F1 given their comment that Baku did very little for their brand. I suspect they know the upfront benefit which is race hosting fees but what is it about their brand and total event that they are looking for?
This is a pivotal moment for Carey to define what his race weekends will look like and which new markets can deliver that fan experience. Seems they either have an ide about what they want from a brand impact or why would they be talking to these potential hosts?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great news for Chase, I just wonder what fans will think if they sign two more AsiaPac races and none in Europe?
Hat Tip: Autosport