Todt defends expanding calendar

The forthcoming season will be the busiest in the sport’s 71-season history, as for the first time the calendar will consist of 22 races.

While there is much talk of Saudi Arabia hoping to host a race as early as next year, as Formula Money has revealed, Formula One Management has not yet attempted to trademark the name of such an event, whereas it has races in Poland, Bulgaria and Portugal, as well as Miami and Las Vegas.

Almost from the day Liberty Media bought the sport in January 2017, the new management has expressed its determination to expand the calendar, not only in terms of the number of races but taking the sport into new regions.

Cut price deals have ensured the future of traditional events such as those in Britain, Italy and Spain, however it is newcomers such as Vietnam and, yes, Saudi Arabia, that the sport will really want to bring on board.

Ignoring the fans’ understandable mantra that they would prefer quality not quantity, the fact is that many within the sport are concerned that too many races could damage F1, not only in terms of over-exposure but the sheer cost of such a schedule in terms of money and the sheer strain on team members.

FIA president, Jean Todt has no such doubts, and not only believes that the F1 schedule can be expanded, but that it should be.

“I think it will be a long process before being close to 25 races,” the Frenchman told international media recently. “Probably so much emphasis on speculating and assessing 25 races, and at the moment we should concentrate on 22, which is the situation.

“Now about what it does represent, here I may have a different point of view,” he admitted. “I really feel that, and I include myself, we are so blessed to be in a world where we love what we do. We have the passion. We are privileged. Whoever is in F1 is privileged.

“Of course, you have some duties. When I was in other positions, I was working 18 hours every day, seven days, six or seven days a week, because I had passion, I wanted a result.

“Then of course, the family, if you have a beloved family, they will understand. And you don’t do that for all your life.”

In terms of ‘wear and tear’ on team personnel, Todt cited his visits to the developing nations, in both his FIA and United Nations roles.

“I do a lot in the other activities in my life, where I see people, if they are blessed, they get $30 a month,” he said. “That’s being blessed in certain countries. So we should not forget that.

“We should be decent, and thinking that it does happen. You have an eight billion population, and you have 800 million people unable to eat, to drink, to get a vaccination. We’re here to talk about F1, but we must not close our eyes and forget what is happening, for other people, for other communities.

“I feel again, we have to be blessed, and all those who are in F1, with much higher salaries, incidentally, than any other business, should be very happy. It doesn’t mean that it’s not hard working and all that, but simply assessing the position.”