Conclusions from the F1 2024 calendar: Cash is king as teams reach possible boiling point

Henry Valantine
F1 2024 calendar conclusions.

The F1 2024 calendar has been officially revealed, and as expected, a 24-race schedule has been announced by Formula 1 as it goes about setting a new record for the number of races in one season.

Covid-19 and other interventions of force majeure have prevented the powers-that-be from fulfilling the ever-expanding calendar plans for the past few years, but 24 races are scheduled in for next season, including regionalisation and the switch to a couple of Saturday night races to begin the year.

Now that we’ve had a bit of time to study the calendar and its wider ramifications for the sport, here’s a look at what we can take from it.

F1 2024 calendar the longest ever, and it may actually be fulfilled

The headline changes? That Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will begin the season with Saturday races to accommodate Ramadan, with F1 set to give us a taste of Saturday night racing in Las Vegas this November already.

Suzuka and Baku swap places in the calendar to make Japan an early-season round but, with China’s inclusion and the threat of Covid-19 looking lower (keeping fingers very much crossed on that), F1 could well return to Shanghai as scheduled for the first time since 2019.

A freak bout of flooding saw Imola cancelled earlier this season so, all being well, the long-held plans to make the F1 calendar even longer may actually come to fruition. Let’s not forget, a then-record 22-race schedule was actually put in place back in 2020 before the pandemic took hold, so the expansion of the calendar has been in the works for a while.

A total of 17 races next year will come as part of four double and three triple-headers of race weekends, meaning the pressure will be extremely high – and the overall schedule has also been lengthened by a fortnight compared to 2023, meaning the same planned number of races will take place over a longer period of time.

At what point do F1 teams become the proverbial ‘boiling frogs?’ Or are they already?

如果你建议2003年16-race海域on that the calendar should be extended by a total of two months and have eight races added for 2004, like the metaphor of the frog being put straight into boiling water, it would sense the danger and jump straight out again at the sight of a 50% addition to its schedule overnight.

But to continue labouring this point, because the addition of races has taken place one by one over a period of time, the temperature has gradually risen in the water and F1 staff members may not notice quite so much that they’re being proverbially boiled by the sheer amount that is now on their plates 20 years later.

Now, we all get tired from our jobs to varying degrees, but for those who are more than likely going to spend at least six months of the year away from home in 2024, pressure on them is going to crank up even further still as a result of the new calendar, with even less time with their loved ones.

For those who air their issues within the sport, to anyone who inevitably argues back: “You signed up for this”, or: “This would be people’s dream job”, that simply ceases to be relevant when it becomes an all-consuming existence beyond the race weekends themselves.

Also, crucially, a job is a job, no matter how many people want to do it, and staff welfare absolutely has to be an increased point of discussion next season.

Don’t forget, for all that we do see in F1, there is an awful lot that we don’t see from the staff members who have to arrive way before everybody else and end up leaving a long time after many others too.

Perhaps something like an 18-race cap on flyaway attendance for staff should be written into the next Concorde Agreement to compensate for this and rotation should be put in place, though for the smaller teams on the grid who rely on smaller staff bases, this may not be possible at all.

The sport needs to be careful that such a demanding schedule does not force some of its best people away because it becomes too much to manage. Hopefully Formula 1 practices what it preaches regarding mental health next year, because we’ll be watching.

Regionalisation a step in the right direction, but it can go further still

For the first time, an element of regionalisation has been placed in the calendar to try and limit the amount of logistical challenges in place for the teams next season.

This looks like a good first step, with Japan swapping with Azerbaijan to keep the ‘flyaway’ races together at the start of the year, but there remain some glaring areas where it can improve further.

For example, Canada being wedged between Monaco and Spain sticks out somewhat geographically, as does the new double-header of Baku-Singapore, with at least 12 hours of flying required to get between the two nations. Still, it’s an improvement on the distance between Azerbaijan and Miami this year, but there’s scope to reduce distance even further.

The most concerning back-to-back on the F1 2024 calendar is one that is similar to what is on the 2023 schedule however, with Las Vegas being immediately followed by Qatar.

It takes around 18 hours’ worth of flights to get between Vegas and Qatar, with a 10-hour time difference to boot, not an easy thing to adjust to with only a week’s notice between races. That double-header is Vegas to Abu Dhabi this year, but an America-Middle East back-to-back round staying on the schedule looks to be something that could be adjusted in future.

Formula 1 acknowledged that “this work will continue while being realistic to the fact that as a world championship, with climatic and contractual constraints, there will always be travel required that cannot be completely regionalised,” but there are still clear areas where the sport’s carbon footprint can be reduced.

Huge logistical challenges in front of teams with two season-ending triple-headers

While the beginning of the season is relatively spaced out timing-wise, the end of the season definitely is not.

There is a handy three-week break in November, seldom seen in Formula 1 these days, after a triple-header that takes in the demands of Austin, Mexico City and Brazil, which will hopefully give people respite before the final push.

The back-to-back previously mentioned of Las Vegas and Qatar, 19-hour flight and all, is actually just the first two parts of the season-ending finale that sees the 2024 calendar end in Abu Dhabi in December.

With those being two of three triple-headers and four more double-headers to think about in 2024, the well-known logistical partners in Formula 1 are going to be earning their money next year, that’s for sure. recommends

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Can there ever be a ‘right number’ of races in Formula 1?

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently told theBeyond the Gridpodcast that he thinks 24 is the “right number” of races on the F1 2024 calendar, and for the longer term of the sport.

Of course, there are six sprints to factor into the equation as well, but he offered his reasons behind the expansion of the calendar and why he thinks the sport should stay at this number from next season onwards.

“I think 24 is the right number,” he explained, “[because] it’s the one that is required of the market. You know, it’s really, I would say the right balance between the complexity of the logistics, of the people that are working, but I would say this is the number of which we should target to be stable for a long time.”

Now, Formula 1 has always been a sport of conflicting interests, and it always will be. The sponsors, promoters and FOM want to see more races to make more money, and the team members who are on the ground having to transport the equipment from race to race would ideally like to cap the amount of time they spend away from their families every year.

On the face of it though, as it always has, those fronting up with the cash that makes the sport travel the world appear to have won, and with more people than ever before wanting to host races, it stands to reason that there are more races than ever – with even more people in the queue.

F1 2024 calendar in full

  1. February 29-March 2: Bahrain, Sakhir
  2. March 7-9: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
  3. March 22-24: Australia, Melbourne
  4. April 5-7: Japan, Suzuka
  5. April 19-21: China, Shanghai
  6. May 3-5: Miami, USA
  7. May 17-19: Emilia Romagna, Imola
  8. May 24-26: Monaco, Monte-Carlo
  9. June 7-9: Canada, Montreal
  10. June 21-23: Spain, Barcelona
  11. June 28-30: Austria, Spielberg
  12. July 5-7: United Kingdom, Silverstone
  13. July 19-21: Hungary, Budapest
  14. July 26-28: Belgium, Spa
  15. August 23-25: Netherlands, Zandvoort
  16. August 30-September 1: Italy, Monza
  17. September 13-15: Azerbaijan, Baku
  18. September 20-22: Singapore, Marina Bay
  19. October 18-20: USA, Austin
  20. October 25-27: Mexico, Mexico City
  21. November 1-3: Brazil, Sao Paulo
  22. November 21-23: Las Vegas, USA
  23. November 29–December 1: Qatar, Lusail
  24. December 6-8: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

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