'Massive' calendar cut would increase F1's value - Abiteboul

Renault Sport Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes grand prix racing would benefit from an "aggressive" cull of races that reduces the calendar to as few as 15 races

'Massive' calendar cut would increase F1's value - Abiteboul

F1's calendar matched its all-time high of 21 grands prix this season, including an unpopular maiden triple-header of consecutive race weekends.

There have been suggestions the season could feature 22 or 23 in the near future, with new races targeted in the United States and Asia.

Abiteboul told Autosport: "We need to be able to engage with fans but it has to remain something special.

"We are already way above what should be the figure for something special.

"We need to convey a message of pride, of motivation, of energy. With the calendar that we have now, the enthusiasm is not the same as when we were only traveling 15 times per year.

"If we don't have that energy, it is going to be very difficult to convey that externally.

"It is almost becoming routine. It should not be a day-to-day job. We've tipped that balance, so we need to be extremely careful.

"I appreciate the reason why, commercially we need to grow the calendar, but as far as I'm concerned, I would be for a massive contraction of the sport."

Abiteboul said "between 15 and 18" races would "massively increase the value".

"If you were to go very aggressive and say 15 races, you have to tell the 21 races you have right now, 'Look guys there are going to be six of you that will be dropped: compete'," he added.

"You completely reverse the pattern of the market. It would be very interesting to see the reaction.

"I understand it would be a gamble, that it is not something within the current set-up of Formula 1, that acquires more money every year, more people, more tracks, more prize-fund, more of everything.

"But at some point there will be a crunch time and maybe we will see if we can switch the balance."

Some of F1's smaller teams have suggested they would need proof of a commercial gain to support an expanded calendar.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner said: "To go to races costs us and F1 a hell of a lot of money, so they need to make sure we have income as well, not just expenditure," he said.

"Just growing it for the sake of growing it, there is no point.

"The balance is between 20 and 22 races maximum. Going over, there is no return for it."

Force India owner Vijay Mallya said the wellbeing of staff was his "major concern".

"More races mean more revenue and if I can have one and a half or two race teams and I get paid by Formula 1, I'd certainly consider it," he said.

"But if things stay the same, then I think more than 21 races and these triple-headers are just too taxing for our engineers and mechanics and all those involved in the race team."

shares
comments
Ferrari and Italy's great lost hero

Previous article

Ferrari and Italy's great lost hero

Next article

Daniel Ricciardo: Mercedes more vulnerable in F1 this year than before

Daniel Ricciardo: Mercedes more vulnerable in F1 this year than before
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Ben Anderson
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021