Stefano’s State of the Nation – F1’s President and CEO on the 2022 calendar, the Sprint, and the title race
As the Formula 1 2021 season heads towards an exciting and enthralling crescendo, F1’s President and CEO Stefano Domenicali talks about the key stories on the agenda right now, including next year’s record-breaking calendar…
F1 set for another record-breaking year in 2022
The incredible news is that we are here in the middle of October with six races to go and have such an intense and open Formula 1 championship that is grabbing the attention from all our fans around the world.
We are heading in the right direction of achieving a record-breaking 22 Grands Prix in what has been such a complex year with Covid-19. We’ve had to be adaptable, flexible and proactive, but the reward has been a calendar with a strong rhythm considering the circumstances. And this has been made possible thanks to our team here at F1, the FIA, the teams and the promoters.
Next year, we’ve launched the calendar with 23 Grands Prix. Thanks to the promoters and the teams, we have adjusted the calendar to start in the middle of March and finish on 20 November, one month before Christmas. We were keen to have the right rhythm for the calendar while also keeping the three-week summer break and giving hard-working personnel enough of a break at the end of the season.
Next year will see the arrival of a new experience in Miami. And that comes after the addition of two new venues in Qatar and Saudi Arabia this year. To have three new events in the space of six months shows the sport is in a strong place.
Regarding the future beyond 2022, there will be some other good news coming out soon, which I don’t want to spoil by saying now. We are going in the right direction and have reached a point where we can choose where F1 will go in the future.
We have so many requests to host a Grand Prix. It shows our platform is attractive with more and more governments seeing it as an opportunity to develop their businesses, local economy and awareness of their community. Exciting times ahead.
Formula 1 is heading in the right direction
We are living in challenging times but Formula 1 is in the fortunate position of attracting investment across the board.
Aston Martin is an incredible brand, an OEM with the right DNA for F1. That such a company is investing that level of money in F1 means Lawrence Stroll believes in our project and believes F1 represents one of the most important pillar on which they will develop their strategy.
Stroll has set a target of fighting for the world championship within five years. It’s ambitious, but I think with the level of investment, that is a realistic target.
We’ve seen Red Bull already committing to build their own engine, with a big investment in the UK. And that is another sign of real long-term loyalty in the championship. I’m grateful for what they have done for F1 and what they continue to do.
And Williams are moving ahead with new ownership with Dorilton putting the steps in place to strengthen the team’s future. We hear there are a lot of interested parties who want to buy teams and that means F1 as a business is healthy, and that the choices we’re making, like introducing sustainable fuels and revising the power unit are the right strategic technical approach for F1.
We are challenging the system with the ambition for cars that are lighter, that can race each other and that sound right. This is where we want to head and this is what we’ve got to have in the future.
F1 Sprint having a positive impact on the weekend
We are pleased with the learnings from the first two F1 Sprints. What is clear is that it changes the dynamic of the weekend but we want to wait until the last test in Brazil and then prepare the right package for the future.
The highlight must be the format of the weekend. Starting from Friday, action mode is fully engaged. It’s why the promoters are happy. We have received requests from a lot of promoters to host the Sprint.
From a sporting perspective, we have seen that the less time you have to practice, the more unpredictable the action is on track in qualifying and the race. There is some fine tuning we need to do – but we are working through that now.
It’s always easy to be negative and not change but we push to go in this direction because we see the enthusiasm from young generation and the wider interest from those around the world.
Plenty to play for in final six races
Last time we found ourselves in such a tight fight for the championship, I was on the team side at Ferrari, with the title going down to the final race in 2010 and 2012 – so I know what it means to live this kind of intensity.
It’s fantastic for Formula 1 to have such an intense fight, but I don’t want to only focus on that, as we have the fight for other positions. McLaren and Ferrari, for example, are battling hard for third. And we have battles all the way down the field, with the final positions in the constructors’ championship critical for teams regarding their positioning for the future.
I can’t wait for the next six events as they are six opportunities for something new and incredible to happen in what has so far been one of the great seasons in F1.
Drivers' standings before the United States GP
|1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing
|2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes