Last week it was confirmed that F1 will have a third race in the United States from next season after securing an initial three-year contract for a Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Amid the buzz of excitement about the prospect of F1 cars racing along the Nevada resort city’s famous Strip, there have also been question marks raised about the future of the calendar. 

The inclusion of the Las Vegas Grand Prix means that as it currently stands, at least one existing event would have to drop off the calendar, with F1 on the verge of hitting its maximum limit of 24 races in 2023. 

“It’s exciting news for F1, it’s going to be a great event and a great location, there’s no doubt about that,” said's F1 Editor Lewis Larkam. 

“F1 is continuing its bid to boost its popularity in the US and Netflix has been huge to that. Last year’s US GP, we saw a record attendance there and now they have a third flagship race in Vegas. 

“So it’s all exciting from that point of view but that obviously comes with the extra races with Qatar joining on a 10-year deal next year, China should be returning as well, so you are looking at 25 races there. 

“One is going to have to budge, because under the current Concorde Agreement, it’s a maximum of 24 races for next season. Unless there was some kind of special agreement from the teams to increase that number, it will be 24 next year as a maximum. 

“So then you are looking at which races are going to drop off? The three that are going into their final year of the contract are France, Belgium and Mexico. So they are the races that have uncertain futures and perhaps the ones that are most likely to fall by the wayside for these added races in the US. 

“Stefano Domenicali [F1 CEO and president] recently hinted that there’s enough interest for 25 or even 30 races on the calendar and there’s talk of potentially going back to Africa at some point in the near-future. You do start to wonder, when is it going to stop? 

“It is kind of getting to a point now where it’s really pushing the limit of [there] almost being a race every weekend before you know it. 

“You’ve got to feel for the teams and crews and everyone working in the sport. It’s becoming so intense. Already last season, with the short turnaround between last season and this season, it felt pretty intense, and talk of 25 plus races - you just wonder when is that right balance going to be found? 

“Personally, I’m feeling like we are already getting to the point of it being too much.” 

‘The calendar is already getting too big’

According to F1 commentator Ben Edwards, the calendar has already become too big. 

“Of course there’s a commercial side to that as well, some of these new venues are going to be earning lots of money for F1 one way or another and in a way it’s a push on that side as well to some of those other tracks, I’m sure,” he explained. 

“Monaco, I think it’s very unlikely that that would be dropped but some of the ones that Lewis mentioned, the French Grand Prix for example, has been a tricky one over recent years anyway. 

“Thankfully it has been back for a while but not with a long contract and it’s not everybody’s favourite and yet we’ve got French drivers in F1. 

“It’s a real balancing act and it is hard. I think the calendar is getting too big myself, but that’s personal feeling, and I feel for the teams and how hard they have to work. 

“On the other hand, I have a friend who has some health issues, he doesn’t go out much, he stays at home and he’s always really happy when there’s a Formula 1 race on whichever one it is. So there are so many sides to this balance.” 

Other topics discussed include Ferrari’s strong start to the season, whether Charles Leclerc is ready to fight for the title and how circuit modifications will impact this weekend’s returning Australian Grand Prix. 

Download and listen to Episode 4 now at the following links…