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Formula 1 CEO Responds to Criticisms From Verstappen and Alonso: “If They Don’t Want to Race in F1, They Don’t Have To”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Stefano Domenicali says that a calendar with 24 races per year “is an optimal number for now” and emphasizes that drivers are not obligated to race in the category.

For the second consecutive year, the Formula 1 calendar comprises a total of 24 races – although last year this maximum was not reached due to the cancellation of the Imola Grand Prix due to adverse weather conditions.

However, the substantial increase in the number of races per year has not exactly been endorsed by the drivers, who have voiced their concerns numerous times about this controversial issue.

Max Verstappen, a three-time world champion, and Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, were two of the drivers who spoke out the most, and this Wednesday they received a response from Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1.

“I believe that 24 [races] is an optimal number for now. The good news for this year is that I committed with the teams and the promoter to announce the calendar much earlier than usual, so everyone could be prepared. I think 24 is better than 12. If you want to race, here you can do it every day. If they don’t want to race in Formula 1, they don’t have to,” he said, according to Record, emphasizing that the drivers’ commitment to the sport is also a demonstration of “respect” towards all the fans and others involved:

“It’s a matter of respect for the fans, who want to see their drivers compete. It is part of our responsibilities, towards all fans of the sport, our partners, our promoters, our sponsors, and all intermediaries. It’s the magic of the sport we live in because we need heroes who like what they do.”

In February of this year, Max Verstappen had warned about the high number of races that Formula 1 drivers undertake each year, stating that at this pace, he would not see himself in the category for many more years.

“I know I won’t continue for another 10 seasons doing 24 races a year,” he stressed. The Dutch driver’s statements also received a comment from Alonso, who agreed with his ‘rival’:

“When Liberty [the current commercial rights holder of Formula 1] came in, they told us that the limit would be between 20 to 21 races [per year]. If even the World Champion says that there are too many [races], imagine what the other drivers will say, who by the second half of the season are no longer competing for anything,” he said.

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