Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes a one-off “invitation race” each season could help boost intrigue and excitement surrounding the Formula 1 calendar.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced F1 to revise its original 22-round schedule into a 17-race campaign, with the sport adapting to the disruption by creating a unique calendar.

While the likes of classic races such as Monaco, Canada and Suzuka have been called off, other traditional venues including Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have held events, while F1 has is visiting new venues like Mugello and Portimao.

F1 will also return to some favourite former venues this year including the Nurburgring, Imola and Turkey, all of which are stepping in for the cancelled rounds in the Americas and Asia.

Following the success of the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, which was well received by fans, teams and drivers alike, Horner feels F1 can learn from the positives of the situation and raised the suggestion of inviting different circuits to stage a race in the future.

"It is great that F1 are going to these different venues and we have some more coming up in Istanbul and Imola,” Horner wrote when reflecting on the Tuscan GP weekend in his latest Red Bull column.

“It keeps up the competition for a place for one of the 22 slots on the calendar and I think it would be good to have some sort of invitation race once a year to take in these different tracks."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he “liked the concept” of a varied calendar, while Williams driver George Russell agreed with Horner’s view.

"It is a great job to F1 to give us that opportunity," Russell said.

"Maybe we need to do this more often, moving forward. Maybe every year we need two joker races or something."

F1 heads to Sochi this weekend for the Russian Grand Prix, which marks the first standalone event of the compact 2020 season.

Speaking about Red Bull’s prospects at a track Mercedes remains unbeaten at since it joined the calendar in 2014, Horner added: "I expect Mercedes to be fired up and pretty dominant as [Sochi] is their type of track.

"But as we have seen this season tyre degradation is an interesting factor. They weren't stretched last weekend but you could hear how nervous they were, instructing their drivers to stay off the kerbs.

"So, it would be great if we can be competitive in Sochi and put them under a little bit of pressure because that is when things can happen."

 

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