Red Bull team boss Christian Horner claims the current Formula 1 calendar is at “breaking point”.
F1 had initially scheduled a record-breaking 24-race calendar in 2023, but that was derailed by the announcement that the Chinese round would be absent due to the nation’s Covid-19 entry policy and a replacement round not being sought.
That number is set to be reduced further by the confirmation yesterday that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will not go ahead after excessive flooding in the region.
However, prior to the Imola race being called off, Horner highlighted that he feels 23 races would be the maximum threshold the sport could go to amid fears over placing extreme workload on the respective crews.
Following the teams’ recent encounter with back-to-back races in Azerbaijan and Miami, Horner pinpoints that logistical improvements to the calendar must be prioritised.
“I think for me, 23 is the top end,” Horner told the Financial Times before the cancellation of the Imola race. “I mean we’re just about to go into a triple header off the back of a doubleheader.
“We’ve just gone from Azerbaijan to Miami and then we come back and three in Europe. It’s brutal, that travel schedule.
“I think you get to a point where, you know, 23 Sundays a year, for people to go and take two hours out of their Sunday afternoon or evening.
“It’s a big commitment to follow a whole season, I think. So I think that’s enough.”
Horner has also hit out at F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali for prioritising the addition of new lavish venues such as Miami and the new Las Vegas event this year over the historic tracks.
There is substantial doubt over the continuation of Spa-Francorchamps on the roster beyond this season, while the futures of Silverstone and Monza have been subject to speculation in the past over the rising costs required to hold a grand prix.
Germany’s Hockenheimring has been a notable omission from the calendar since 2019 and a rotation system between races has been touted as a possibility.
“They play the same trick every year,” Horner said. “He [Stefano Domenicali] said, ‘We can’t lose Monaco, we can’t lose Monza, we can’t lose Silverstone’,
“And then he says, ‘You’ve heard about Las Vegas.’ Okay, we’ll go to Vegas. ‘What about Miami?’ Yeah, alright we’ll go there too.
“And they just keep coming up with great venues and great races, and it’s difficult to say no, but you do reach a point where you wonder where you get oversaturation and 23 is an insane amount of racing and mileage that we have to cover in a season.”
South Africa has registered its interest in marking an F1 revival in the country for the first time since 1993 and its proposal has received support from seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
However, Horner is adamant it would be ideal to incorporate new or returning circuits as competition for the current venues rather than expanding the calendar further.
He added: “I think it’s better to have competition for the existing venues than to just keep adding more and more because you do get to a breaking point which I don’t feel we’re that far from.”