Stefano Domenicali

F1: Series looking at rotating European races – Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO, recently disclosed plans to establish a rotation protocol for future European races that cannot afford to pay the kind of sanctioning fees that the overseas races in the USA and the Middle East pay.

Either they improve their business model and pay the going rate, or they only get a race in alternating years.

F1 is using this tact to compete one circuit against another to extract a higher fee from each, until only the most strong survive – those that can draw a big crowd pay the big money.

The concept has been on the drawing board for some time and is now gradually taking shape as F1 expands its international presence.

Belgium was suggested to alternate with France annually, but the idea has now been scrapped. With Madrid joining the race to host the Spanish GP, a potential rotation with Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is under discussion.

Addressing the likelihood of both Madrid and Barcelona featuring in the same season, Domenicali shared his views on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast:

“I think no.

“At that time, the business was not so big. We still had a European-centric calendar. Today we have a worldwide calendar with bigger races.

“In Europe, I am expecting to see races where the rotational principle could be applied, but not two in the same year.”

Regarding which races might be in the rotation, Domenicali noted:

“Not yet. There are already talks with some of them and this is something that in the next two years we are going to clarify formally.”

“For sure, it’s very important the historical races have their own personality.

“I laugh when I hear people say Formula 1 does not respect historical races. It’s absolutely the other way around.

“What we want is to use this incredible moment where Formula 1 is growing, to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing. It’s a matter of understanding the world is evolving.

“Historical races will always be part of the calendar, but there is a need for some of them to recognize the changes that they have to make with infrastructure, for example. That is not changing the layout of traditional races.

“The fans are coming more and more with different needs. If you do not give them what they deserve, it’s not historical anymore, is it?

“If you remember, two years ago when there were discussions that Belgium was off the calendar, they reacted very well. They invested in infrastructure related to the best experience we want to give to the fans.”

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