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Stefano Domenicali

F1 hits back at 24-race calendar critics: ‘Driving is not compulsory’

Some drivers have criticised Formula 1 for expanding its calendar to 24 races, prompting a response from the sport's CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Domenicali
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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has responded to criticism aimed at the record-breaking 24-race calendar in place this year.

Three-time world champion Max Verstappen previously labelled the expanded schedule as “way over the limit”.

F1 has steadily added new events to its calendar across the last handful of decades and is set to embark on another 24-race journey in 2025.

Amid concerns that the schedule is too busy, Domenicali believes 24 events is the most advantageous number.

“I think 24 is an optimal number with the events we have so far,” Domenicali told Sky F1.

“The good news this year, I took it as a responsibility from the teams and to the promoter to announce the calendar much earlier than we normally do in order for everyone to be ready.

“That’s been another step in the direction of trying to regionalise the calendar.

“We cannot do it completely but I think that we did the right step, so [I'm] very happy with that.”

F1 'not compulsory' for drivers

Like Verstappen, fellow world champion Fernando Alonso stated that the 24-race schedule “is well over the limit” and questioned how sustainable it is moving forward.

When asked for a response to the criticism of the schedule's length, Domenicali said: “I think that 24 is better than 12.

“I speak with them - if you want to drive, you can drive every day, if you don't want to drive in Formula 1, it’s not compulsory.

“It’s a matter of respect for the fans. They want to see them racing. It's something that we have, the responsibility of all our fans, our partners, our promoters, our sponsors, our broadcasters - everyone.

“The magic of the sport we live in is because we need heroes that need to enjoy what they're doing. And I'm sure that they are enjoying it.”

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