What does a late start in F1 season mean?




Although the leaked reports state a late start to the next 2016 Formula One season, next year there are more races in the season and not less. What this means is that more number of races will be condensed in lesser amount of time.

What does a late start in F1 season mean?

What does a late start in F1 season mean?

There is a likelihood of seven back to back races next season. This would mean that the audiences would be kept more engaged. This seems to be a ploy by the Formula One management to keep the fans regularly engaged in the sport. Usually with the large gaps in between races, makes the fans especially the new and/or recent followers to lose interest in the sport.

However, it would be a challenge for the teams to race so many races in such a short amount of time. Pre-season testing would become more critical for the teams to test and gather all the data as there would be no time to recover from technical faults or do proper analysis in case of faults before the next race.

On paper, this strategy looks to reduce costs and travel expenses for the teams. With the South Asian races clubbed together travel would become easier and more organised. However, the reality might be very different as more races would mean more travel.

The provisional calendar leaked also suggests that with the condensed schedule and higher number of races, Formula One management will have more leverage to bargain with old venues and shield from criticisms in case one of the venues decide to exit from the calendar.

Also, it means that the venues like Germany and Italy which are on the provisional list currently for next year with contracts still pending, need to act fast. Negotiations that stretch into September or October do not leave enough time for the organisers to prepare and promote the race for the next season and eventually we see them exit from the F1 calendar. This is precisely what happened with German Grand Prix this season.

Ecclestone has been known to promote higher number of races in a season despite the teams and drivers silent protest. Teams have time and again hinted at the fact that higher number of races means more travel, higher costs for the team which in turn leads to higher expectations. Bernie on the other hand, according to sources, has set his target to make a 23 race season feasible.

Bernie with the more number of races and newer venues is trying to reach out to the larger untouched audiences. Bringing newer people into the sport and making them stay has been a challenge which the Formula One management has been facing for the last few years. TV viewership and tickets sold have been reducing in number over the years in turn reducing sponsorship money.

These are small but significant changes which has caused a stir amongst the Formula One teams and fans. The surprise announcement and the leaks have cause quite a debate, some excited with the changes and some still speculative about it. There are some theories including a potential hidden agenda by Bernie Eccleston, F1 boss. Once the Formula One management comes out and announces these changes officially, we shall get a clearer picture.

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Anjan K Merkap

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