Max Verstappen has questioned Formula 1 bosses over their aggressive push to introduce new venues to the annual calendar. Adding races to different cities can be brilliant for helping the sport to appeal to a new audience, but Verstappen does not want that to come at the cost of losing some of F1’s most famous Grand Prix locations.
Plenty of new venues have been introduced to the sport in recent times, especially since it was bought by Liberty Media. Races were held in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the first time last season, with both set to be annual fixtures on the schedule for years to come.
This season Miami makes its debut with a purpose-built track centred upon the Hard Rock Stadium, as F1 chiefs hope to build upon increasing interest in the sport from US consumers. From 2023, there will be three American races per year with Verstappen set to race his rivals along the Las Vegas Strip.
There are due to be 23 races this season, close to the maximum allowed in a calendar year. Las Vegas takes that to 24, while it is expected that a return to the Kyalami circuit in South Africa will be announced soon.
The Concorde Agreement currently in place until 2025 allows for a maximum of 24 races in a season, meaning the race just north of Johannesburg would exceed that limit. With Qatar and China also set to return in 2023, at least three of the current venues on the calendar look likely to be axed from next year’s schedule.
It means some of the more exstablished Grands Prix are in danger of disappearing from the calendar. Races in France and Belgium are believed to be under threat, while there is also talk that the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix might not be as untouchable as it once was in the eyes of F1 bosses.
In an interview with Dutch media, Verstappen voiced his concerns about trading established circuits for newly-crafted street circuits. “Of course they have to make money and try to make the sport more popular, but it’s also important that the right tracks stay on the calendar and that we don’t just race at street circuits in cities,” he said. “In the end, these cars are not made for that.”
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F1 chief Stefano Domenicali has regularly hinted that he wants to see the calendar expanded, and even suggested in the off-season that he can see up to 30 races per season taking place in the future. Verstappen revealed he had spoken about the topic with the Italian, and admitted that he understands why those in the boardroom are so keen to add more races.
“[Domenicali] understands that [the cars may not be made for that] too, but he has to take into account his shareholders,” the Red Bull driver added. “It won’t be like it used to be. Entertainment will be more important, but that’s just the world today.”