Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has said he will quit Formula 1 if the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, increased the number of races per season to around 25 in the next few years.
Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January and has confirmed that it is looking to grow the sport’s calendar beyond the 20 races currently on the schedule and push into new markets, with 21 events planned for next year.
Concerns have been raised about the pressure that a 25-race schedule would place on the paddock considering the packed year that teams already have once testing, development and media activities are factored in.
Alonso was quoted in the Spanish media as saying that he would quit F1 in the calendar did hit 25 races, and the McLaren-Honda driver confirmed that he was correctly quoted on Thursday in the FIA press conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
“I started when the calendar was 16 races, plus the tests, and now we keep on increasing the races year after year and I think we are in a number that is quite demanding already,” Alonso said.
“The life you have, between the preparation, the sponsor events, the tests, the commitments you have plus 20-21 races, I think it is already enough.
“If there are 25 or 26 races or whatever, I think it’s good in one aspect but in other aspects, in how demanding becomes your life, at this point of my career, I consider that a good quality of life is more important than to do more seasons in F1.
“So if the calendar stays between 20-21, so this range that we know from the last couple of years, I’ll be happy to continue.
“If it’s increasing, like NASCAR, where they have 40 or 50 races, it’s not for me. It’s better for other drivers.”
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was also asked about calendar growth, saying: “I haven’t really given it any thought, but I understand what Fernando’s saying and tend to agree with him.”