Leclerc Calls for a Limit of 24 Races in F1’s Future Schedules

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In the year 2024, the F1 calendar has expanded to an unprecedented 24 races, as the sport experiences a surge in popularity. This expansion is partly due to Liberty Media’s efforts to tap into new markets, with locations like Miami and Las Vegas on the radar, and attempts to reintroduce the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.

However, this packed calendar has raised several logistical issues. The increase in races has led to grueling schedules such as triple headers and standalone flyaways that have prompted concerns from drivers like Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

When asked about his views on a 24-race schedule by F1, Leclerc firmly stated, “Not more.” He acknowledged the sport’s growth but also emphasized the toll the packed schedule takes on the entire F1 crew, not just the drivers. Leclerc believes that though drivers lead a privileged life, the mechanics, engineers, and logistics team members face tremendous pressure. “I think for them, it starts to be quite a bit,” he commented.

This year has seen new full-time additions to the calendar, with Las Vegas and Qatar joining the line-up. But there is a limit to the expansion, as the current commercial agreement under the Concorde Agreement sets the maximum number of races at 24, with a renewal planned for 2026.

Leclerc has also expressed concerns over the potential loss of uniqueness and importance individual grands prix might suffer if they become too frequent. He likened it to the Olympics, stating that if they were hosted every year, they would lose their special appeal. “I think that a grand prix still needs to be a unique thing,” he explained, highlighting the risk of diminishing the special feeling associated with each race.

Max Verstappen, on the verge of becoming a triple F1 world champion, has also expressed reservations about the demanding lifestyle in F1, questioning whether the human cost, including off-track obligations, is still worth it. He reflected on the pressures, saying, “I feel like I have to do too much and skip other things [I enjoy doing], so I sometimes think, ‘Is it still worth it?'”

In a world where bigger often means better, F1 is at a crossroads where the balance between expansion and well-being must be delicately maintained. Leclerc’s vocal concern is a reminder that there is more to the sport than just the glamor of racing – there are human lives and a unique culture that must be preserved. After all, as the wise folks say, sometimes less really is more, even in the fast-paced world of Formula 1.

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