Stefano Domenicali fires stern warning against being ‘arrogant’

The future of the Italian and Belgian Grand Prix has been thrown into doubt.

Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed that “historic” Grands Prix can’t just rely on their history to gain a slot on the calendar, with the likes of Monza, Spa and Silverstone needing to “look ahead with a different future”.

The F1 calendar is currently a huge talking point, with the 2023 season being the longest in the history of the sport.

2024 will be even bigger, with next year set to see 24 races take place across the globe.

24 is a number which Domenicali believes is “right” for F1, with the calendar currently including every possible continent except Africa.

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Africa is looking increasingly likely to join, though, with a return of the South African Grand Prix on the cards.

“Pretty good – I would say in terms of number, 24 [events] is the right number, and the mix of continents we have today is looking good,” Domenicali said during a Liberty Media investor call.

“It’s no secret we are still seeing if there’s a chance to go to Africa [because] it’s the only continent missing.”

With F1 continuing to increase on popularity across the world, more venues are pushing to host a Grand Prix.

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As a result, some current hosts are being dropped, with the French Grand Prix having been axed following 2022.

The likes of Monza and Spa are two circuits which are up for discussion about being dropped, to make room for new venues.

Losing the Italian and Belgian Grand Prix would certainly be a huge blow for the sport in terms of history; however, just being a historic venue isn’t enough anymore to deserve a space on the calendar.

“When historic [circuits] are only looking behind there’s something that’s no good, when the historic [circuits have] a good foundation to look ahead with a different future that’s beautiful,” he added.

“That’s why with the so-called historic grands prix we are focused on understanding what is the view of the future.

“To be arrogant and believe that you have a granted future because you had a race since 100 years, to be very honest is not enough.

“I think in this moment everyone is understanding that, and we are not playing any games, we are very transparent with them, we are saying if they want to be in the calendar they need to be doing the things we believe is right for them and also for us as F1.

“It’s clear in the last couple of the years the perception of these historical places have changed as they realise the landscape is different.”

Three of the races this season are, of course, taking place in the United States, with it being the only country to host three races on the calendar.

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This isn’t something which concerns Domenicali given that each “has a different personality”, with all three taking place in very different parts of America.

Every race – not only in America – has a different personality, different quality, different segmentation of fans,” said Domenicali.

“I don’t see any cannibalisation; everyone is different, everything is different, the events are different, I don’t see any problem there.”