Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff wants Formula 1 to cap its maximum number of races at 21 rounds as he prepares for the sport’s joint-longest season.

F1 expands to 21 races for the 2018 season with the return of the French and German Grand Prix but loses the Malaysian Grand Prix after its contract expired last year. The total number of races match the all-time high of 2016 which also held 21 races but it’s thought the F1 race calendar could continue to expand as part of Liberty Media’s plans.

Reports emerged last year of the F1 race calendar increasing to up to 25 races but Mercedes chief Wolff has urged a cap at 21 races. Wolff believes more races would risk “diluting the exclusivity” of each race and therefore devalue the sport as a whole.

“I don’t think we should be going further than 21 races because it is simply diluting the exclusivity of the event,” Wolff said. “It is something we are looking ahead thinking ‘okay, great let’s do 21 or more’ but last year with 20 races and it was already very difficult for the organisation so this is what I see as the limit.

“It is very difficult for the team because not only are you doing 21 races but all of us have a normal day job as well. It is pretty stressful for the organisation and pretty stressful for the individuals as well.”

Despite the expansion Wolff concedes he will miss the Malaysian race at the Sepang International Circuit due to title sponsors Petronas who are based in the South East Asian country.

“There are special relationships – for example I am going to miss Malaysia as we’ve made friends in Malaysia and not going to Kuala Lumpa will be different,” he said. “We are returning to Germany which is important for us as Mercedes as we hope to have many of our colleagues joining us at the race.

“I like Monza too – I like the Italian lifestyle and it is a special Grand Prix where I can cycle into the track through the park which is special.”

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