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The Formula 1 landscape is changing rapidly amid the sport’s booming popularity.
American owners Liberty Media are keen to take races to exciting ‘destination cities’. Miami held its first race this year while Las Vegas will join the calendar in 2023. Qatar will return after missing out this year due to the World Cup while South Africa could enter the fray in 2023 for the first time in 30 years.
There is also talk of street races in London and Nice, with the calendar set to expand in the new few years. F1 will hold 22 races this year, one less than planned after the Russian Grand Prix was axed following the invasion of Ukraine.
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F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says there would be enough interest to hold 30 races, although that would be unsustainable, with 24 a more realistic number. As a result, some of the most established races on the calendar could fall by the wayside, and quite soon.
Four of the tracks on the 2022 schedule are reportedly in the final year of their contracts and could potentially drop off the calendar. Daily Star Sport looks at which of those venues could be replaced and which ones will retain their spot…
Just a few years ago, this would have seemed unthinkable, but given the competition for places on the calendar, no venue is untouchable, even the most famous race of them all.
The tight nature of the track – and its facilities – and the size of the cars mean overtaking in the dry is virtually impossible. F1 wants to renegotiate its deal with the principality while there have been calls for the track to be altered to facilitate better racing.
Stay or go? There would be an outcry from traditionalists if Monaco was axed and, although the power seems to be in F1’s hands, it would be a bold and potentially divisive move. Monaco will probably keep its place, but only on the proviso that improvements are made.
The wonderful Spa circuit is in the final year of its contract and the word is that it won’t be renewed by F1, who have concerns over the infrastructure surrounding the track.
Losing the race would disappoint drivers and the thousands of fans – mostly Max Verstappen followers – who flock to the circuit every year. There might be a glimmer of hope though, with talk that the Belgium Grand Prix could be retained on rotation basis.
Stay or go? It seems the best Spa can hope for is a semi-regular appearance on the calendar on rotation. Not ideal but better than nothing.
Paul Ricard, France
Next month’s French Grand Prix looks set to be the final one held at the Paul Ricard venue, which only rejoined the calendar in 2018. Logistical issues and a succession of dull races have led to its demise.
Stay or go? Paul Ricard looks like it has run its race, but we may still see a French Grand Prix in the future with F1 in talks with Nice over a street race.
Which circuits should be retained? Have your say in the comments section below.
Red Bull Ring, Austria
Of the aforementioned venues, it would be the biggest surprise if the Red Bull Ring was dropped. The cue is in the name of the circuit.
It was reported at the end of 2020 that the Spielberg track had signed a new multi-year contract. However, Motorsport.com has reported recently that the venue is in the final year of its contract.
Relations between the Red Bull Ring and F1 are strong though and the track hosted double-headers in 2020 and 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. It certainly has credit in the bank.
Stay or go? While the contract status of the race is unclear, the popular venue will almost certainly keep its place, and probably for many more years to come.
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