Several members of the Formula 1 paddock are said to have been caught by surprise when the 24-race calendar for 2023 was announced, according to a report by the Guardian.
The F1 schedule has been gradually expanding in recent years, with the exception of 2020, when there were 17 grand prix during the COVID-affected campaign.
2021 saw a record 22 races held over the course of the season, and there were set to be 23 this year, before the Russian Grand Prix was cancelled due to the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
For the first time ever, 24 races will be held next season, in a schedule that will see the teams travel over 13,000 kilometres, and that is without heading back home between races.
Several European races were at risk due to F1’s expansion into the American and Asian and middle eastern markets, and the French Grand Prix has now fallen at the wayside.
Monaco has an extension until 2025, while Spa Francorchamps has been kept on for another season after the Kyalami Circuit in South Africa was deemed, for now, unfit to host an F1 race.
China and Qatar both return in 2023, as does Las Vegas, meaning that there will be three races in the United States.
The seasons begins at the start of March in Bahrain, and ends towards the close of November in Abu Dhabi.
The schedule is not decided by the FIA themselves; F1’s promoters set the calendar of races, and they forward their plans to the governing body for approval.
All that is left to do in either Paris or London is sign off on the calendar, so F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, is more involved in the process than FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem.
However, the Emirati does have the right to overrule F1 on certain decisions if he chooses to do so.
Thanks to the longer hours, the more strenuous journeys and the additional time spent away from their loved ones for the team members, several key figures have been reported by the Guardian to find the 2023 calendar “unacceptable.”
It is also said that the calendar was expected to be announced on Friday, but that gun was jumped, with the list of races being published on Tuesday.