As Formula 1 unveils a record-breaking 2023 calendar, Monaco extends its contract and Colombia could be in line to join the schedule. Here’s a round-up of all the latest Formula 1 calendar news!
2023 F1 calendar revealed, 6 sprints confirmed
Formula 1 has unveiled a record-breaking 24-race calendar for the 2023 season. Beginning on March 5 with the Bahrain Grand Prix and ending on November 26 with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 24-race schedule features the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The Saturday night race in Las Vegas will take place on November 18 as the penultimate round of the 2023 season. Next year’s schedule also includes the first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019 plus a return to Losail International Circuit for the second running of the Qatar Grand Prix.
In addition to the calendar announcement, the FIA has approved plans for six Sprint events to be held across the 2023 season. Three Sprint events have been on the schedule in 2021 and 2022. It’s yet to be announced at which races the Sprint events will be held. You can expect to hear more in the new year.
2023 pre-season testing dates confirmed
Bahrain International Circuit, host of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, has confirmed the track will once again host pre-season testing in 2023. The ten teams will take to the track for three days of testing on February 23-25, one week before the first race of the season. Details about attending testing as a spectator will be announced soon.
In 2022, an additional three days of testing took place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, as the teams got to grips with a new generation of car. It is expected there will be just one single block of three days’ worth of testing, in Bahrain, in 2023.
Why is South Africa not on the 2023 calendar?
The widely-speculated return of the South African Grand Prix is a notable omission from the 2023 calendar. Rumours about the South African Grand Prix re-joining the calendar after a 30-year absence continued over the summer.
Unconfirmed reports circulated on social media in July that a deal was to be announced imminently, with F1 having signed a 5-year contract with the Kyalami circuit. The rumour suggested that DHL would be a major sponsor of the event, but the company refuted those claims.
In August, talks between F1 and the local promoter collapsed, jeopardising the race’s place on the 2023 calendar. Instead, a single-year contract extension was subsequently signed with the organisers of the Belgian Grand Prix – the race which the South African round was expected to replace.
Despite the breakdown of the South African deal, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali remained adamant that the sport returning to the African continent remains “a very clear target”. To do so, Formula 1 will now need to work with a new promoter.
Madrid and Colombia mooted for future races
Madrid has become the latest city to express interest in hosting a Grand Prix. A letter to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali from cabinet minister Enrique López was published online by the Community of Madrid. The Spanish Grand Prix is currently held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which signed a new contract late last year to keep the event on the calendar until 2026.
Meanwhile, Formula 1 could add a second race in South America with rumours of a future Caribbean Grand Prix gathering momentum. The Mayor of Barranquilla, Jaime Pumarejo, stated that F1 representatives have already visited the Colombian city and talks are advancing to bring a Grand Prix to the area in 2024 or 2025.
2022 F1 attendance figures continue to soar
Attendance figures at Formula 1 races across the summer have continued to soar. Record-breaking figures were set at the Belgian Grand Prix – with 360,000 fans at the circuit over the weekend – the Dutch Grand Prix – which attracted 305,000 over the weekend – and the Italian Grand Prix – with 337,000 in attendance. Meanwhile, Silverstone set a new race-day record for the British Grand Prix, with 142,000 spectators witnessing Carlos Sainz’s maiden win.
The remaining races on the 2022 calendar are almost fully sold out. The United States and Mexico City Grands Prix are expected to have some of the highest figures seen all year. Elsewhere, an additional grandstand is being constructed between Turns 5 and 6 at Yas Marina Circuit, increasing spectator capacity for the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Tickets for the 2022 season finale sold out in record time, though a number of VIP and hospitality packages are still available.
Monaco Grand Prix extends contract
Formula 1 has confirmed that the Monaco Grand Prix will remain on the calendar until at least 2025 following the signing of a new 3-year contract with race organisers. This is the first new contract signed with Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) since 2011.
There had been heavy speculation on the future of the iconic event following the end of the current contract earlier this year. It remains to be seen what concessions, if any, have been made in securing the new deal on issues such as the race hosting fee, trackside advertising and TV direction.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, which will take place on May 25-28.
F1 to launch first official exhibition
The world’s first official Formula 1 exhibition is set to launch later this year. The immersive travelling museum will tell the story of F1’s history with archive footage, artefacts from seasons past and a selection of iconic race cars. The exhibition has been created in partnership with Manhattan West and Round Room Studios, who worked on the Jurassic World and Mandela exhibitions. You can sign up at F1Exhibition.com to hear about on-sale dates and tickets.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the 39 acres of land which Formula 1 has bought to house its pit and paddock area at the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be utilised for a similar exhibition between races. Dennis LaFontaine, Vice President of Marketing and PR at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, says that more details will be released in the coming months.
Eye-watering Las Vegas Grand Prix ticket prices
Ticket prices for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix could rise as high as $100,000. That’s according to MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle, who quoted the figure while revealing that the company plans to buy $25 million worth of tickets for next year’s inaugural race in order to sell hotel and hospitality packages. Hornbuckle also said that hotel rooms are likely to cost at least three times their usual rate. Organisers of the race have reassured fans that affordable ticketing options will also be available.
Preparations continue for the first Las Vegas Grand Prix, with the circuit layout having been tweaked over the summer. A chicane has been added to the section of track which was previously a long right hand bend around the new MSG Sphere arena.
Formula 1 has announced that a special launch event will take place this November, to celebrate the sport’s return to Las Vegas. The free event will take place on November 5 and will be attended by some current teams and drivers. Red Bull and Mercedes will run their cars on the famous Las Vegas Strip and fans will be able to partake in interactive activities. There’ll also be a drone show at Caesars Palace plus an official afterparty at OMNIA Nightclub.
The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix will take place on November 16-18, 2023. Tickets are expected to be released in the coming weeks.
2023 British Grand Prix ticket sales hampered by technical issues
Silverstone’s website struggled to cope with demand when tickets went on sale for the 2023 British Grand Prix in September. The venue attracted negative attention, with fans fuming at a new ‘dynamic pricing’ model, where ticket prices increased at short intervals based on demand.
The website issues led to ticket sales being suspended and Silverstone issued an apology to fans who had attempted to buy tickets. The sales re-launched the following day with the high ticket prices remaining in place. Circuit boss Stuart Pringle says that the ticketing system will be reviewed ahead of the 2024 event.
Despite the issues, tickets have been snapped up for the 2023 British Grand Prix, with some grandstands and 3-day General Admission tickets already sold out. A wide range of VIP and hospitality options remain available.
Other F1 calendar news in brief:
- W Series has cancelled the final three races of its 2022 season due to financial issues. The all-female series was expected to appear on the support schedule and the United States and Mexico City Grands Prix.
- Monza attracted negative headlines following the 2022 Italian Grand Prix with many fans left disappointed by their race weekend experience. The circuit has since released a statement, apologising for the disorganised nature of the event. They say a full assessment is underway to ensure the issues do not happen again in the future.
- During Formula 1’s latest triple header in Europe, Mercedes trialled the use of biofuels in their freight trucks. They found that the use of such fuels reduced their CO2 emissions by an impressive 89%.
- The Miami Grand Prix’s famous ‘fake marina’ will return for the 2023 event. There’ll also be 3,000 new grandstand seats on offer for fans.
- Zandvoort boss Robert van Overdijk has exercised caution over claims of a new two-year deal being signed to keep the Dutch Grand Prix on the calendar beyond next season. He confirmed that talks have begun with F1 but said it is “certainly not as easy as A-B-C”.
- De Telegraaf reports that Formula 1 is to take action over fans removing advertising boards at race circuits.
- Bahrain’s tourism revenues have surged by 562 percent to $876 million. That figure has been mostly attributed to the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix – the first race in the country to be open to foreign visitors since 2019.