Global Appetite For F1 Could See Calendar Grow From 2019

Chase Carey, CEO of Formula 1. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Chase Carey, CEO of Formula 1, has said he could “fill a page” with the number of enquiries he has received from venues interested in hosting the sport.

2018 is already poised to see a total of 21 races, with Malaysia leaving but France and Germany making a return. But future sessions are still open for discussion.

And Carey is keen to expand the calendar, though he admits that would only be possible with the agreement of all the teams owing to the inevitable financial and logistic implications that would be involved.  

Our first focus is making our 21 races [in 2018] as strong as they can be,” he said. “We’ve talked about them being bigger events and maximising things like hospitality – clearly the high-end customer is important at these live events, and we are focussed on that.

“We have not really targeted a number of races. We know there’s an opportunity to add them, but we want to engage more with teams before we get into the specifics.

“On the one hand probably the area of our business which is a bit more mature today is the promoter side.

“But 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.

“I think it speaks well to our ability to continue to take advantage of the global appetite for this sport and the excitement for the event. As we make the event better and improve the sport on the track we think all those things just add fuel to each of those initiatives.”

Carey is cautious, however, as any race added must be of use to Formula 1; the value of Azerbaijan was recently questioned by Liberty Media colleague Greg Maffei, which didn’t go unnoticed.

We are trying to engage with as many of them as possible, and evaluate them,” he continued. “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.”

Though Malaysia is bidding farewell, Carey expects the Singapore Grand Prix, which has recently been in question, to remain. The Asian market is one of great importance, and Carey is determined to grow the sport within the continent rather than see it make a partial exit.

We are actively engaged on renewing Singapore, so we don’t expect Singapore to go away,” he added. “We’ve got to reach a deal, but we are actively engaged there, and our goal is to continue the race.

“Asia is like the Americas, they are important growth markets for us. The Singapore race has been a very successful race for us. We started off in Asia this year, and really we had crowds that were up significantly in China and Australia.

“I think we’ve got some momentum, and Asia is clearly a market in general that we expect to grow significantly over time as we go forward.”