The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Qatar joins the race but can you have too much of a good thing?

Qatar joins the race but can you have too much of a good thing?

FORMULA ONE: The sport of Formula 1 (F1) is on the brink of completing a 22-round cross-continental campaign, and with this week’s confirmation of a brand-new race in Qatar, the path the chequered flag for this COVID-complicated season is finally clear.

By Michael Lamonato

Friday 8 October 2021, 09:15AM

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

The Losail circuit’s addition to the tour as a gap filler for cancelled races has long been rumoured, but the announcement went well beyond a single-race deal. After a year off in 2022 to host the FIFA World Cup, Qatar will return on a blockbuster 10-year race deal at a to-be-confirmed venue.

“We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a grand prix,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said. “The huge effort from all the teams, F1 and the FIA has made it possible to deliver a 22-race calendar, something that is very impressive during a challenging year and something we can all be proud of.”

After the new-for-2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the established races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, Qatar will be the fourth championship round in the Middle East and representative of the sport’s deepening ties in the region. It now hosts more races than Asia, for which the sport’s interest has apparently cooled after the recent collapse of the Vietnamese Grand Prix and the earlier withdrawals of events in Malaysia, Korea and India.

The sport clearly has an affinity for floodlit desert races and has long made peace with accusations it is allowing itself to be used as a vehicle for ‘sportwashing’ the human rights records of the governing regimes, but while these state-backed races in resource-rich nations may boost the bottom line, there are other costs to the funding injection.

Just days after Qatar’s confirmation, Domenicali hinted at some of the details of next season’s schedule, due for release after this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, the headline for which will be a record-breaking 23-race tour condensed into just eight months, from mid-March to mid-November.

Subtracting the regulated three-week midyear break leaves just 33 weekends clear for an average of 2.7 races a month, an increasing number of which are far flung from the teams’ European bases.

The logistical gymnastics required will be immense. As per one leaked draft, a new grand prix in Miami will appear between rounds in China and Spain, Azerbaijan and Montreal will resume their unwieldy 9000-kilometre partnership, and Russia, Singapore and Japan will host one of three triple-headers, theirs a round trip of at least 35 hours by air.

PKF Thailand

It’s hardly congruous with F1’s attempts to bolster its environmental credentials, the centrepiece of which is its 2030 net-zero carbon target.

And while next year’s November World Cup means the calendar will likely snap back to a more comfortably December conclusion in 2023, old desires to grow the calendar to 24 or 25 rounds - though recently played down by the sport - will have to be wrestled with.

But how many races is too many?

F1 has historically been appointment viewing. The scarcity of races has meant each plays an important role in in the title, enhancing the entire campaign.

With two races every three weekends, the sport may lose the very element that helped it stand out in an increasingly cluttered sporting landscape. Events will become forgotten in a quagmire of races that struggle to coherently articulate a championship narrative.

Considering the effort required to stage a race - the unsung backroom team personnel work 12-plus-hour days six days per race, spending weeks at a time away from their families - the sport may find that more is less and less is more.

It might just be that F1 can have too much of a good thing.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
PM presses Asean to reopen

Thailand- The epitome of Disaster Capitalism. Just wait until the Gulf inundates Bangkok-they'll...(Read More)

Incentive offered for foreign investment in property

10, 000 foreigners- have they been using TAT's magic calculator? Cloud cuckoo land. Looking at t...(Read More)

Incentive offered for foreign investment in property

In non-thai thinking 'property' means house/condo, including the land below/around it ( gard...(Read More)

Incentive offered for foreign investment in property

Psst Rich people don't want to live in developing nations with corrupt police. They can afford h...(Read More)

PM presses Asean to reopen

He also said that his kidx are in urgent need of upgrading their luxury cars from 2021 to 2022 model...(Read More)

Phuket New Year Countdown: Bocelli confirmed, Lisa to be decided in Krabi

Wasting Taxpayers money on govt's stupid plans doesn't make much sense, does it? Spend th...(Read More)

Thailand Pass to entice more international tourists

stupidity is in fact more dangerous than the virus and the bad news is that there are no vaccines yo...(Read More)

Phuket marks 83 new COVID cases, four more deaths

No mystery why flu cases are down when people have largely stopped sticking their fingers in their ...(Read More)

Solving Phuket’s plastic problem: 7 reasons to stop drinking bottled water

Simple. Charge a 10 baht deposit on ANY plastic beverage. Set up recycling centers in every neighbo...(Read More)

Solving Phuket’s plastic problem: 7 reasons to stop drinking bottled water

Reality check here pal, it's not "us" doing this. There is zero awareness in general T...(Read More)