While Liberty Media appears to have access to its own unique panel of fans who seem to believe everything the sport’s owners suggest is fantastic and automatically gets the green light, those of us in the real world have other ideas.
For example, while Liberty’s superfans, like Liberty itself, want to see the calendar expanded to 25 races or more, stretching from January through to December, with events on the streets of the world’s various ‘destination cities’, the rest of us would prefer quality over quantity, with races on circuits that are about racing as opposed to stunning backdrops.
For the most part the teams also want to see the calendar kept at its current level and not exceeding 21 races, not only for the reasons put forward by most normal fans, but because of the sheer cost and wear and tear on team members, not to mention the fact that more does not always mean better.
Asked today about Toto Wolff and Cyril Abiteboul’s recent suggestion that the calendar should feature a maximum of 15 or 16 races, Christian Horner replied: “21 races, I think, is about saturation point.
“I think that there’s only so many chapters you can have in a book and I think at some point you go beyond what’s relevant,” he continued.
“I think to go as low as 15 or 16 is too low – maybe Cyril was looking at grid penalties or something,” he added with a grin, “but I think that 21 is the upper end.
“It’s tough. It’s tough for the guys in the garage, for the travelling staff, it’s tough for everybody involved and I think for the spectator and fans as well, beyond 24 races it reaches saturation, so I think it’s finding that balance.
“I think the really encouraging thing is that there are some great venues that want to host Formula One races and events and I think that that should provide natural competition for the venues that are already on the calendar.”
“I think it’s not the number of races or the size, it’s the show which we offer and the level of the entertainment,” added Franz Tost. “If you have 15 boring races people will not watch any more.
“No, I think we should have around 20, 22 races and I think this is a good number and the exclusivity once more depends how good we are and we also should not forget that we are a global player and therefore we need a certain number of races to stay a global player.
“I would absolutely refuse to go below 20 races,” insisted. “The year has 52 weeks, therefore we have a lot of time.”
“For sure we will never go more than 21 because that is, from my point of view, far too much and we have to keep.,” argued Fred Vasseur. “I think at one stage also we are losing the exceptional of the event; the more races you are doing, everybody is used to and at one stage we have to keep the exceptional side of the races and for me it’s a bit too much but I will follow the calendar for sure. I won’t stop after 18 next year.”
“Magic number? I think that below 20 would be fine but between 18 and 20 would be fine for me,” he added.