Liberty Media has abandoned plans to revamp the Formula 1 calendar for the 2019 season, but remain committed to doing so in the future.
Commercial chief Sean Bratches has been keen on the idea of ‘grouping’ races together by regions, to help ease the pressure on F1 teams in terms of logistics and travel.
But after discussions Bratches, although still hopeful of the revamp, has opted to delay the plans.
“We are trying to point this ship in that direction which will be much more efficient for fans, because we can navigate them for a period of time in the same timezone,” Bratches said to Motorsport.com.
“It will also be more efficient for F1 to avoid the expensive traveling, and it will also create opportunities from a sponsorship standpoint. Because if somebody wants to activate in Europe, or the Americas, or Asia, it is difficult to do as we bounce all around right now.”
“From an aspirational standpoint, I am an optimist – but I am also a realist, and based on some of the contractual commitments we have, and based on weather issues, it will be a while before we can get there – if we can [at all].”
Miami and Vietnam amongst possible new venues
Since taking control of F1, at the start of the ’17 season, Liberty has not hidden the fact that they wish to increase the number of Grands Prix in a season to a record 25.
It is understood that Liberty want a second race in the United States, possibly in Miami, with Vietnam being the latest country also linked; F1’s presence in South-East Asia has been reduced after Malaysia ended its contract after the ’17 season, with only Singapore hosting a race in the region.
But F1 CEO Chase Carey has ruled out a country hosting a race for the sake of it.
“We certainly could add races, we’ve got a lot of places that would like to have races – not always places that we’d consider – but I think there are actually quite a number that would be real positives for us,” said Carey.
“But I think our real focus is to ensure quality over quantity. We have the capacity and the rights to add races, and can ultimately go to 25. Our focus at this point is getting the races to be what they should be, and really all the components behind it.
“It’s not just the race, but it’s the hospitality, local partnerships, the event itself, the cities that support it, the public support to engage, and I think we’ll continue to evolve those opportunities as we deal with renewals.”