Formula 1 has increased the maximum number of races in a season to 25 from 2021 onward as a result of changes to the race weekend schedule.
The 2021 sporting, technical and financial regulations were approved and presented on Thursday, addressing items such as a $175 million cost cap and radical changes to the cars to allow for closer racing. The race weekend format will also change, with Friday’s track action taking place later in the day to allow teams to arrive a day later at each venue, with a view to allowing the schedule to accommodate up to 25 races per season.
“I think the key changes are that the maximum number of races will increase to 25,” Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn said. “But in correspondence with that, we’re changing the format of the race weekend. Our promoters rely on a three-day race weekend, but we’re changing the format on a Friday so that all the activities that sometimes take place on a Thursday will be condensed into a Friday.
“So for instance, scrutineering will take place on a Friday morning and there will be two sessions – possibly shorter – on a Friday afternoon. We’ll still get pretty close to the same amount of track time, but we’ll make it more efficient. The teams have been very cooperative on this process and they have given us very strong feedback that most of them feel they can come to a race meeting at least one day later than they currently do. So that’s been the objective.
“And over the race weekend, the number of working hours that the teams are permitted to carry out will be reduced as well. So the curfew will be much stronger, and there will be less available working hours for the teams to take the load off the personnel.”
While a maximum of 25 races will be allowed, it was clarified that the higher number is not a target at this stage. Another way of limiting costs and the weekend workload comes with the introduction of a reference specification, where teams submit the car specs they will run ahead of the weekend.
“When you turn up on a Friday, the car that you scrutineer is the car you will race,” Brawn said. “You won’t be able to race different pieces of bodywork. You will on a Friday be able to try things, so if on a Friday you want to try a new front wing you can do that, but you can’t race it. The idea behind that is to stop the necessity to build lots of parts in case that front wing works.
“In current Formula 1, you want to take a new front wing to a track, you want to try it, you’re concerned it may work well and therefore you need to make two or three of them when you turn up at a track so both drivers can have it and you’ve got a spare. Suddenly you’ve got a huge expense, and you’re flying parts in at the last minute to satisfy that need. So there’s some sensible housekeeping being done on the way we operate over a weekend to take a lot of strain off the teams.”