Commercial Rights’ Holder Liberty Media faces a big battle in the coming months as more venues would like to join the Grand Prix calendar which teams already find overcrowded enough.
The Formula One championship was called into being on the 13th May 1950. The first ever season saw only seven races, and the number of Grands Prix has significantly increased since. The biggest increase in the avarage number of races happened between the ’60s and ’70s, when it grew from an average of 10 venues to 14.4 per year.
The 2016 season saw a record-breaking number of races. That championship started in Australia and ended in Abu Dhabi, embracing a total of 21 venues. In the following year, the calendar shrank to 20 races with the cancellation of the German GP. As Hockenheim rejoined the sport in 2018, the calendar grew to 21 venues last year, and the same number of races forms the calendar this season again.
Liberty Media’s current negotiations with potential promoters cast a cloud over the future shape of the calendar. The American company is keen to add a second race in its home country, America with Maimi being the hottest contender to take on this opportunity.
A second race is being considered for China, as well. The Commerical Rights’ Holder sees huge potential in the enourmous country since its automotive industry has showed incredible increase over the last fifteen years. As many as six different venues are being mentioned as location with serious interest in hosting a second Chinese round next to the current Chinese Grand Prix which takes place in Shanghai. The rumour has it that Beijing could be on top of the contenders with a possible spectacular street race.
The American conglomerate is reported to have interest in a race in South-Africa as it intends to visit every continent in the near future. The last South African Grand Prix was held in Kylami back in 1993. During 2018, Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa declared that the country would be interested in rejoing Formula One, but the high costs of hosting such an event mean a huge obstacle. A race in Saudi Arabia has also been mentioned lately.
Vietnam has already been confirmed for the 2020 season with Red Bull have already visited the country for a demonstration run last weekend.
The talks with Netherlands about a race in Zandvoort is said to be advanced with the confirmation expected for the coming months. With Max Verstappen’s sensational and successful arrival in the sport being a motivational force, Liberty Media and the Dutch organiser are both keen to bring the race back to the previous GP location.
With the confirmed Vietnam Grand Prix and the six other potential venues, the season would expand to a 27-race-long calendar which is absolutely impossible considering the renitency of teams. It then leaves Liberty Media to find out the best modell and calendar for the future which, in the end, could see some fixtures on the calendar being sidelined.