Following the 21 events that comprised the 2016 and 2018 schedules, at 22 races this year was set to be the busiest in the sport’s 71-season history.

Unfortunately, the pandemic put paid to that.

Looking ahead however, out-going F1 boss, Chase Carey admits that the sport is seeking a regular 24-race schedule, albeit with some races rotating.

His admission comes at a time team bosses are already warning that the 22-races planned for next season will put them at the limit, leading to talk of the establishing of ‘B-crews’ in order to ease the load on team members. However, such a move would surely add to the teams’ costs at a time of budget caps and the ongoing drive to reduce spending.

“Looking beyond 2021, we continue to feel great about the excitement from locations around the world in hosting F1,” Carey told investors in an online meeting. “Many locations we raced at this year expressed great interest in new races and other countries have stronger than ever interest.

“We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years,” he continued, “and will probably rotate a few races so we will be able to accommodate a few new partners.

“But they will be limited as long-term partnerships continue to be our priority,” he added.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty over the pandemic, Carey is confident the sport will return to normal next year.

“We have not only maintained but strengthened the relationship with our promoters,” he said. “We have completed renewals for next year on improved terms.

“We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured,” he added.

“We will also look to bringing the Paddock Club back to our events. We have great plans for the Paddock Club, which were deferred this year, and expect it to be a significant contributor to our long-term growth.

“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus. In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”

As he prepares to hand the keys of F1 to Stefano Domenicali, Carey is confident that despite the problems the pandemic created this year the sport is in good shape.

“We have successfully weathered the challenges of the virus in 2020,” he said. “We are planning for a world that begins to move forward in 2021, and have been clear with all our partners as it relates to those expectations.

“We have an even more exciting 2022 right behind it, with new cars and regulations to energise competition and action on the track, with a healthier business model to broaden the appeal of the sport.

“That being said, we recognise that we do not have a crystal ball as it relates to the virus, so we will be prepared for the unknown,” he admitted, a wise call under the circumstances. “But what we are certain of is that when the world moves past the virus that F1 will be prepared to pick up where we were before the virus interruption.

“We believe the world will value unique events live and on screens as much as ever, that countries will want a platform to connect with a world that is sick of being cooped up, and the unique combination of an incredible sport married to state of the art technology will uniquely position us for success.”

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