GENEVA, Switzerland – Formula 1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey says that the sport’s owner, Liberty Media, is focusing on evolution instead of revolution when it comes to forming race schedules in the coming years.
Liberty completed its takeover of F1 back in January, with Carey replacing Bernie Ecclestone at the helm of the sport.
Widespread changes have been expected as Liberty looks to increase F1’s footprint and reach in key markets such as the United States, with a number of new races expected as a result.
A first provisional calendar for the 2018 season was published on Monday, featuring the 21 races expected, up one from 2017 after the addition of France and Germany, and the loss of Malaysia.
When asked by NBC Sports if 2019 would be the first F1 calendar that Liberty could put its stamp on, Carey responded by saying he believed it was already clear on the 2018 schedule.
“I think that stamp exists today. I think we’re very proud of the calendar,” Carey said.
“We view this as our calendar. I might expect over time the calendar will evolve a little bit, but most of the races we have are multi-year.
“You’re not going have in any one year, you’re not going to have a dramatic change because most of the agreements are multi-year agreements.
“I think very much this is a calendar we feel good about, and I would say it’s our calendar. It’s not anybody else’s.”
Carey said that a total revamp of the calendar was not realistic given the contracts for races that are already in place, a well as important factors such as the August summer break that gives teams a chance to shut down for a couple of weeks during a busy season.
“There are realities to deals we have in place. Some races are in historical places that are important, and there’s a reason they’re historically there,” Carey said.
“They’re places and races we’re very proud of that want to be in a particular time of the year, and obviously that’s important for us if they’re there. So I think in saying we’re burdened with some construct we inherited, I don’t look at it that way.
“There’s a logic to this calendar. European races are largely clustered in this period from mid May to early September. You’ve got your traditional August break. I think for us, our focus, I said in Montreal, we feeling good about the calendar.
“I think we believe we can continue to improve it, but I think there will be an evolution, not a re-doing. I think our focus is really making the races everything they can be.
“I think this calendar issue probably gets more weight and focus and people try to make more out of it than it is. I think our biggest priority is making these events, we have 21 events we have this year, everything they can and should and we hope they be.”