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Formula 1

Brown open to 28 Grands Prix - if calendar rotation can be agreed

The F1 calendar has continued to grow in recent years, with a record 24 races set for the 2024 season - but could this go even further in future?

McLaren's Zak Brown is open to the idea of up to 28 Grands Prix being part of the World Championship - if calendar rotation can be agreed to.

Given the surge in popularity of F1 in recent years, the calendar has grown with the addition of races including the Dutch, Miami, Las Vegas and Saudi Arabian Grands Prix, with a total of 24 races planned in 2024.

This was the original schedule for 2023, but the Chinese and Emilia-Romagna Grands Prix were both cancelled, but both will return for '24, when six Sprint races are also set to be held.

The 24 Grands Prix brings the F1 season up to two-thirds the length of a NASCAR Cup Series season at 36 races, not counting exhibition races such as the Clash or All-Star.

One possible solution to the demand for more races versus the effect it has on paddock personnel has been the idea to rotate races whereby Country A would host in odd numbered years, before Country B takes over that slot in even years, akin to how the Nurburgring and Hockenheim alternated the German Grand Prix.

However, after a brief period of alternation, the Nurburgring fell away after 2013, with Hockenheim continuing its even-numbered years duties until '18, with Mercedes stumping up for the '19 race, with no German GP since.

Rotation is one idea mooted, with Brown's fellow team boss Guenther Steiner of Haas calling for further regional grouping of races.

"24 races is the max for people's wellbeing, but we need to continue to expand the sport," Brown told media including RacingNews365.

"So I'd like to see a scenario where you maybe have 20 fixed Grands Prix and, say, eight that rotate every other year. So you have a 24-race calendar, but you expand the sport by going into other regions and other countries.

"That being said, I don't know the economics inside out of how it works as a track promoter. So whether an alternating calendar is economically viable for the promoter, but I think that would be the ideal scenario.

"It is easy for me to scratch that out, but more difficult for Formula 1 to put that scenario together. But I think that would be most ideal."

In addition to rotation, Steiner also explained how regional grouping of races could help lessen the travel effects.

"Alternating [races] is a question for FOM, but I think it would be a good idea, as in the end, you get more countries on the calendar and expose our sport in more countries," he said.

"There is no real talk of going to 25 races yet, but 24 for the time being is on the limit, and if we have more, we will need to find another solution. It is also how [races] are staged.

"If you stay in certain regions for a while, there is less travel involved back and forth, fewer long-haul flights, so there are a lot of things to be discussed, but in the moment, there are 24 races next year, we're going to have to deal with that and see what comes out.

"But in the short term, 24 is the number we need to manage."

As talk of calendar expansion grows, so do hopes of a Grand Prix in Africa, the only continent that does not currently host a race, Antarctica excepted, with Lewis Hamilton a firm driver behind the attempts to return to South Africa, and Kyalami.

This was something picked up by Aston Martin's Mike Krack.

"I think what is important is that we keep in mind that this is a World Championship, and we're still missing one continent, while we go a lot in others," he said/

"There is still a little bit of work to be done. But all in all, I think F1 does a great job there, we have seen it over recent years. Now the number, if it’s 22, 23, 24, I think we will always find solutions to handle that. But all in all, as I said, World Championship means for me racing on all continents."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

The impact on staff

With the calendar expansion to 24 races, George Russell led calls for paddock personnel to be banned from travelling on-site to each event, with his team boss Toto Wolff highlighting how this wouldn't be possible for everybody.

"24 is already is already a lot. I guess if we can get another good venue that is accretive to the calendar, for sure, we'll find a way of accommodating it," Wolff said.

"We, as a team, we've already started to run shifts. Many people don't do all races anymore. But obviously, you have the race engineers that are dedicated to a car and the drivers that you can't really swap.

"So whether it is 24 or 25, it wouldn't make a big difference."

What is your ideal length for the Formula 1 calendar? Let us know by voting in the poll and in the comments below!

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