FIA to move two grand prix to Saturday to accommodate Ramadan

Formula 1 is trying to consider the Muslim holy month of Ramadan whilst planning the 2024 calendar.

Following a meeting of the FIA General Assembly in Cordoba, it has been reported that several changes could be made to the Formula 1 calendar in 2024, including two Saturday night races.

As Liberty Media continue to push for the pinnacle of motorsport to become more modernised, it has been discussed in Cordoba about whether the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix could be pushed to a Saturday.

Talks were held for the races in the Middle East to be moved to the Saturday to accommodate the Muslim holiday Ramadan.

Ramadan takes place between March and April and involves the Muslim community fasting, something Liberty Media and the FIA are seemingly trying to support.

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One idea is to move the season-opener in Bahrain to March 2, with the Saudi Arabian GP taking place the following Saturday on March 9.

With Ramadan set to start on March 10 next year, the Muslim community won’t be impacted by either Grand Prix.

Further changes to the calendar have also been discussed, with the Chinese Grand Prix looking set to return towards the end of April 2024.

The current plan is for F1 to return to Shanghai for the first time since 2019 on April 21, two weeks after the Japanese Grand Prix which is also looking set to move.

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F1 currently visits Suzuka in September; however, there are talks for it to be moved to April 7 to reduce some of the logistical challenges the sport faces.

Transporting everything from Japan to China would be significantly easier for the championship, rather than it going from Japan to Qatar which is happening later this season.

In regard to the calendar, there have been further reports that some of the older venues are at risk of being axed.

Whilst it’s believed that the Monaco Grand Prix is currently safe, there has been suggestions that the Belgian Grand Prix and Dutch Grand Prix could alternate going forwards.

Many drivers have criticised the idea of scrapping the historical European venues like Spa and Zandvoort, given how unique they are.

Despite what has been reported, F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali has admitted that the sport does rate “historical races”; however, the Italian is aware that all of the sport’s hosts must be “doing the right thing”.

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“I‘m laughing when I hear people that are saying Formula 1 is not respecting historical races. It’s absolutely the other way around,” Domenicali told the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“For sure it’s very important that the historical races have their own personality.

“What we want is to use this incredible moment, where Formula 1 is growing, to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing. It’s a matter of understanding that the world is evolving.”