F1 Calendar News: February 2022 Round-Up

While rumoured plans for a Las Vegas Grand Prix are revealed, Bahrain is announced as the host of pre-season testing and the Singapore Grand Prix’s contract is renewed. Here’s a round-up of all the latest Formula 1 calendar news and rumours!

F1 to race in Las Vegas from 2023?

Formula 1 could be adding a third race in the United States from 2023, with the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix reportedly on track to take place within the next two years. The report suggests an official announcement could be made by F1 in the first half of 2022.

A Grand Prix in Las Vegas would be a spectacular affair. The race, which is expected to take place at night, would take place on a track which would pass down the Strip and by the dancing fountains at Bellagio Casino.

F1 last raced in Las Vegas for the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1982. The much-derided temporary circuit was set out in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel. The event remained on the calendar for only two seasons.

Will Sprint Qualifying be dropped in 2022?

With just over a month to go until the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, there is yet to be a decision on how many Sprint events will take place in 2022. Sprint Qualifying was trialled at three races in 2021 and was generally deemed a success.

Original plans for six sprint races appear to have been shelved following a disagreement with teams over the budget for the additional races. Instead, it is now expected that there will be three sprint races in 2022, just as there was last year. There is no decision as of yet whether the races will remain part of qualifying, or be run as separate standalone events.

Bahrain to host official pre-season test

F1 has confirmed its pre-season testing schedule for 2022. The first test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – billed as a “shakedown” event – will be closed to the public. The three day “Official Pre-Season Test” at Bahrain International Circuit on March 10-12 will be open to fans and will be broadcast live. Tickets are not yet on sale for pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have also revealed positive news about ticket sales for the season-opening Grand Prix. They report “huge interest internationally”, with 50% growth on international ticket sales compared to 2019. They noted that many tickets had been sold to Dutch fans, who will make the journey to support Max Verstappen in his first race as reigning World Champion.

Singapore Grand Prix contract renewed

The Singapore Grand Prix is set to remain on the Formula 1 calendar until at least 2028 after a new contract was signed with Marina Bay Street Circuit. F1’s original night race appeared on the 2022 calendar with a provisional date, as the circuit’s contract expired in 2021. The new deal secures the long-term future of the event for the next seven seasons.

The Singapore Grand Prix returns to the calendar this year following a two season absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 race will take place on October 2.

New grandstands added for Australian Grand Prix

Construction work has been completed on modifications to the Albert Park circuit, which is set to host the Australian Grand Prix for the first time since 2019 in April. The track changes will make lap times around five seconds quicker and should bolster overtaking opportunities at the venue.

Australian Grand Prix organisers have now released tickets for five new grandstands, one of which overlooks the altered Turn 11 – which could be a great spot to see some overtaking. These are the final tickets available for the event, which – with the addition of the new stands – may well have a record-breaking attendance figure.

W Series to support F1 again in 2022

W Series will be on the Formula 1 support bill once again in 2022. The all-female series will host the season-opening round of its third season at the Miami Grand Prix in May. From there, it will race alongside F1 at four European venues, before rounding out the season in Japan, the United States and Mexico. The series attracted global headlines recently, with Caitlyn Jenner joining as team owner of Jenner Racing.

British Grand Prix headliners announced

Four headline music acts have been announced for the 2022 British Grand Prix weekend. Silverstone’ weekend entertainment will begin with Thursday night headliner Example. The British rapper’s performance will be open to all weekend ticket holders.

British DJ Sigala will take to the stage on Friday evening, before Brit-award winning band Bastille headline after qualifying on Saturday night. Swedish singer Mabel will perform after the Grand Prix on Sunday July 3.

Changes to pre-race ceremonies in 2022

Part of the pre-race ceremonies for 2020 and 2021, the ‘We Race As One’ gesture will be dropped from F1 race weekends in 2022. F1 boss Stefano Domenicali says the sport needs to change “gesture to action”. It has recently been announced that F1’s Engineering Scholarships programme will continue until at least 2025.

Meanwhile, to support F1’s sustainability objectives, pre-race military flyovers have reportedly been banned at Grands Prix in 2022. However, commercial aircraft powered by sustainable fuel and aerobatic planes – such as the Red Arrows at the British Grand Prix – will still be able to fly as part of the race build up.

Other calendar news in brief:

  • Circuit of The Americas has undergone major resurfacing work in an effort to diminish bumps which have been complained about by both F1 drivers and MotoGP riders.
  • Construction work continues at Miami International Autodrome. In January, the first grandstand seats were erected in the Marina Grandstands. The inaugural Miami Grand Prix is set to take place in May.
  • Building work is ongoing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a number of safety changes being made to the track and progress being made on the construction of the new paddock area.
  • Baku City Circuit are in search of volunteers for the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend. Volunteers are needed in areas such as marshalling and administrative operations. Tickets are not yet on sale for the race.
  • Images released by Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps show the new Raidillon grandstand under construction. The new stand is in an elevated position alongside one of the circuit’s most iconic corners and should provide great views across to the final sector of the track.
  • Work is underway on Escapade Silverstone, a unique trackside accommodation centre overlooking Silverstone’s iconic Maggots and Becketts corners. It is expected to open in Spring 2023. The circuit’s Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, located on the Hamilton Straight opposite the pits, is also set to open this summer.

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