Formula 1 leaders and the various teams are said to be “angry and frustrated” with the FIA, which yesterday published the official calendar for the 2023 season which includes 24 races without the approval of the teams when it is normally a tradition.
The next exercise will start in Bahrain at the beginning of March before finishing in Abu Dhabi at the end of November and will include three triple races, including one comprising three events held at the end of the season: Austin, Mexico City and Interlagos. Except that teams hadn’t yet given their approval for this “triple header.”
But the FIA took everyone by surprise by unilaterally announcing the calendar on Tuesday, when it should have been revealed just three days later on Friday.
Discontent would thus grow rapidly among the team principals, but also on the side of Liberty Media, which usually publishes a press release attached to the FIA one. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and his teams were the first to be surprised by this announcement.
Because if the confirmation of the F1 calendar ultimately depends on the FIA, and this through the World Motor Sport Council, it is Liberty Media who is in charge of leading and closing the agreements with the promoters of the Grand Prix. In a way, the FIA therefore “only” validates a calendar prepared by Liberty Media upstream.
The statement of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the FIA, thus irritated, the latter having stated in his press release that “The arrival of new events and the maintenance of traditional events underline the good management of the sport by the FIA.”
A team member, who wishes to remain anonymous, described the FIA’s attitude towards F1 and the teams. “unacceptable”. The same goes for journalists who are used to traveling to almost every F1 Grand Prix. They are usually notified in advance of the dates to reserve hotels and means of transport at reasonable prices. Once the calendar is released, prices skyrocket. For example, three nights at Silverstone went from 750 euros to more than 3,000 (minimum) once the schedule was confirmed!
It is not the first time this season that the sport’s governing body has drawn the ire of the sport’s stakeholders. This had created controversy by insisting on a ban on wearing jewelery or by introducing the Technical Directive aimed at reducing porpoise bypassing the F1 Commission.
And more recently, teams were also upset by confusion over determining the starting grids for Spa and Monza, which had taken hours due to numerous penalties. Not to mention the end of the race behind the safety car in Italy even though, in this case, the regulations would have been applied correctly.