As F1 announces that the Russian Grand Prix will not be replaced, Australia and Miami have strong attendances and F1 buys land in Las Vegas to construct a pit complex for the 2023 race. Here’s a round-up of all the latest Formula 1 calendar news!
Russian Grand Prix will not be replaced
Formula 1 has announced that the cancelled Russian Grand Prix will not be replaced on the 2022 calendar. The Sochi race was scheduled to take place on September 23-25. Turkey, Germany, Qatar and a second race in Singapore were all considered as potential replacement events but instead there will now be a three week gap between the Italian Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix. It means that this year’s number of races will remain at 22, tying with 2021 as the season to have hosted the most Grands Prix.
Miami Grand Prix attracts 240,000 spectators
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix has stolen most of the Formula 1 headlines in the past month. Despite a failed last minute lawsuit aimed at preventing the race from happening, the first F1 race around Hard Rock Stadium was a star-studded affair, with over 85,000 in attendance on race day to witness Max Verstappen secure the first victory at the new circuit.
Nevertheless, race organisers are confident that next year’s event will provide a profit. For the second year of its ten-year contract, next year’s race is expected to maintain its May slot on the calendar.
Huge demand for Italian Grand Prix tickets
Tickets for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix went on sale at the end of April with huge levels of demand. Ticket sales opened later than in previous pre-pandemic years and with Ferrari looking strong in the 2022 season, it’s no surprise that many fans struggled to get tickets. The good news is that further tickets have since been made available for the event – but these too look set to sell out soon.
Ticket prices were increased for last year’s Italian Grand Prix, which ran at half capacity. Sadly, tickets have remained at the higher prices despite the 2022 event being set to run at full capacity.
Tickets on sale for 2022 Singapore Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix breaks attendance record
Formula 1 returned to Melbourne in April after a two-year absence. The Albert Park race weekend was attended by 420,000 fans, setting a new Melbourne attendance record. The figure was up almost 100,000 on the last Australian Grand Prix weekend in 2019.
The Australian Grand Prix is a frontrunner to host the season-opening race of the season once more in 2024. This is due to the varying period of Ramadan, which will coincide with the start of the Formula 1 season from 2024. Respectful planning is needed when scheduling races in the Middle East which would fall within the month of fasting observed by Muslims.
George Russell reckons that the Australian Grand Prix should not be a standalone event, claiming that the extreme change in time zones and long travel times is “too tough” on F1 teams amid an expanding F1 race calendar.
Monaco Grand Prix under pressure?
Michel Boeri, President of the Automobile Club de Monaco, has refuted claims that the Monaco Grand Prix will disappear from the Formula 1 calendar after this year. Circuit de Monaco is one of four current venues yet to secure a deal beyond the end of 2022, but Boeri claims that talks are ongoing with F1 to secure a “three or five” year contract for the Monaco Grand Prix to remain on the schedule.
Meanwhile other venues have been mooted for potential new races in recent weeks. Lewis Hamilton has been vocal in his support of the return of the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, while rumours of Audi and Porsche joining F1 from 2026 have increased hopes of a German circuit returning to the schedule. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says it would be “great” for Germany to return to the calendar. Hockenheim last hosted the German Grand Prix in 2019, while the Nurburgring hosted the one-off Eifel Grand Prix in 2020.
F1 buys land in Las Vegas
Formula 1 has spent $240 million acquiring land in Las Vegas ahead of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. The first Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend is set to take place in November 2023. F1 has purchased a 39-acre site to house pit buildings, hospitality and paddock areas.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix differs from other races on the calendar in that F1 will work as co-promoter of the event, meaning that Liberty Media is required to invest more of its own money in making the race a reality. The area bought by F1 is to the east of the famous Las Vegas Strip, which the drivers will race down at the planned night race.
Visa rules simplified for Azerbaijan Grand Prix
There’s good news for fans attending the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. A new decree means that racegoers will be eligible for a visa if they present proof of their ticket for the race. Race organisers are expecting this year’s event to be a sell-out. It would be the first time that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has sold out in its history.
The circuit’s Executive Director, Arif Rahimov, is keen to expand spectator capacity for future years and is also hopeful that Baku City Circuit will be selected to host a sprint event in 2023. Unfortunately, there will be no concerts at this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as race organisers look to ensure the safety of fans amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the pit lane walk and autograph sessions will return.
Other F1 calendar news in brief
- Despite ending their involvement in Formula 1 at the end of 2021, Honda will be the title sponsor of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix. The race is set to take place on October 7-9. Tickets are not yet available. The circuit, originally built as a test track for Honda, will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year.
- The packed 2022 Formula 1 calendar is causing a headache for tyre supplier Pirelli. They are given 25 days per year to test prototype tyres for the following season – but the condensed calendar means that some tests may take place during Free Practice sessions on race weekends instead.
- Guenther Steiner has expressed concern that freight delays could derail an entire Grand Prix weekend.
- Taking inspiration from the Miami Grand Prix, next year’s British Grand Prix is set to have a Thursday evening launch event. Race boss Stuart Pringle says that the venue has already enlisted producer and songwriter Jamie Scott to help deliver a Thursday evening concert with “world class” artists.
- Meanwhile, the 2022 British Grand Prix is set to be a sell-out event. 142,000 tickets have already been sold for race day at Silverstone.