F1 teams grant backing for 22-race calendar

Formula One teams have granted their approval for an extra race on the 2020 calendar, according to Mercedes team principal and chief executive Toto Wolff, with the Spanish Grand Prix looking increasingly likely to retain its event in Barcelona.

A calendar comprising more than 21 races needs the consent of the teams, and meetings were held on Saturday between Formula One chief executive Chase Carey and team bosses on the sidelines of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest.

The Spanish GP looks set to feature on the calendar in 2020 after the Catalan government said it would provide financial backing to stage the event. In a statement published on Thursday, the government said it had authorised a one-year contract extension in a move that would see the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya retain its long-held place on the calendar.

Speaking on Saturday, Wolff said that a 22nd race had been agreed in principle on the basis that a fourth powertrain for the cars would not be permitted, as this would have increased costs for the motor-racing championship’s teams who acquire their engines from the main manufacturers such as Mercedes.

“In a nutshell we basically agreed to have a 22nd race,” Wolff said, according to Motorsport.com. “We’ve got to let Liberty do their business, and their business is to grow F1. If they are able to attract promoters, we’ve got to support them.

“So we shouldn’t change the technical regulations because we have an extra race. That was the debate we had. It shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to increase the number of components. But equally we’ve got to protect our people and all of us, because it could get to a point where it’s not manageable any more with one single crew. That becomes a factor that needs a solution.”

Formula One has already confirmed that Vietnam and the Netherlands will be added to the calendar in 2020, while the Australian and British Grands Prix have this summer secured their spots until 2025 and 2024, respectively.