Although the current season still finds itself in an intense phase, the preparation for the 2023 championship has already started after Formula 1 had announced the calendar for the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship yesterday. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó analyses the newly announced 2023 F1 calendar.
Early start – The 2023 F1 season will kick off in Bahrain on March 5 which presents an earlier start than usual. The Bahrain Grand Prix made its debut in 2004 and appeared as the season-opener for the first time two years later.
Finally back - The Chinese Grand Prix makes its return for the first time since 2019 on April 16. Just as Bahrain, China held its first ever Formula One race back in 2004, and established itself as a fixture on the calendar until the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019. The Shanghai race was not included into the 2022 calendar due to the pandemic, although it is finally set to return next year with the contract of the Chinese Grand Prix running until 2025.
Race still on – Despite fears that the Monaco Grand Prix could disappear from the calendar, the 2023 F1 schedule incorporates the sport’s legendary race. Formula One held negotiations for several months with the Automobile Club of Monaco with various issues holding back the finalization of the new contract.
Among the issues was that the Principality has paid Formula 1 a minimal hosting fee, reportedly about $15 million, largely because of its history and status. There was also a clash between sponsorship agreements as Monaco’s main sponsor is the TAG Heuer brand which is a direct competitor of Formula 1 sponsor Rolex. However, things seem to have settled for the near future as Formula announced yesterday that it will continue to race in Monaco until 2025.
Double races – Italy will once again sport two races in 2023. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has been moved to May with the Italian Grand Prix taking a similar spot that it has been used to in recent years.
Imola reappeared on the F1 schedule in 2020 after the Covid-19 led to a disruption. Although it was thought to be a "one-off" race, the the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has remained on the calendar since, and will continue to be held at Imola until at least 2025.
The famous strip – Formula One will return to Las Vegas with the race scheduled to take place the week before Thanksgiving on November 18, 2023. Taking place at night against the iconic Las Vegas backdrop, the track will see drivers reach jaw-dropping speeds of over 340kph as they race around some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, hotels and casinos on the legendary Las Vegas Strip.
The weekend will start on Wednesday with a star-studded opening ceremony, featuring music acts and staple Las Vegas entertainment. The spectacular new multi-use Paddock Building will also be unveiled with the weekend set to feature unprecedented levels of F1 activity and events. The Practice will take place on Thursday, November 16 and Qualifying on Friday, November 17, ahead of the Saturday night race.
Back again – Qatar made its debut last year, replacing the cancelled Australian Grand Prix. Following a year absence, the Qatar Grand Prix will return to the calendar on a 10-year contract from 2023. Although the first race took place at the Losail International Circuit, it has not been decided yet where the 2023 race will take place with a new permanent circuit planned outside the capital city, but Qatar’s Losail is still in the frame.
Spa still on the schedule – Although there were concerns regarding the future of the Belgian Grand Prix, Formula One announced at the end of August that the Belgian GP will be on the schedule for 2023.
With only absent on the calendar in six seasons, Spa has been a much-loved F1 track by drivers and fans for more than 70 years, but the the circuit's ageing facilities and its historically poor traffic management have put its position in danger recently. Despite the one-year extension, Belgium's long-term future remains unresolved and the same uncertainty could arise next year again.
Heritage race axed – The first ever race to be referred to as grand prix, the French Grand Prix has been dropped, but organisers say they are keen to hold the race on a rotation system in the future. The French Grand Prix was first dropped from the F1 schedule after 2008, but the race was then revived in 2018 with the recent stint of races at Circuit Paul Ricard.