Despite an easy entry, travel wise, the 2023 F1 schedule looks to be a brutal, if thrilling, international adventure.
The FIA’s Formula One series has announced a 24-race schedule for 2023, one that begins the first weekend of March and reaches its completion the final Sunday in November. In between one can find traditional race weekends and new ones, intended to entice new viewers who might only know about the series through their Netflix subscriptions and “Drive to Survive.”
Beginning and ending in the Middle East (Bahrain is the first F1 race of the year while Abu Dhabi competes the 24 contests), the season includes a traditional hiatus from the end of July to the final weekend of August. There are three American races on the calendar: Miami the first weekend of May, Circuit of the Americas October 22nd and Las Vegas on the 18th of November, making the Vegas race F1’s penultimate race next year.
In the early months of this calendar, F1 will take a week between races that allows teams to travel comfortably, as they’ll head to Saudi Arabia two weeks after Bahrain, cross the international date line to Australia the first weekend of April, then take a week off before China and again before Azerbaijan, as the series preps a return to Miami the first weekend of May, which should be difficult for the teams.
After Miami, there’s a two-week break before Emilia Romagna (Imola), while Monaco takes place, as is traditional, the final weekend of May, racing opposite the USA’s Indianapolis 500. Spain is on tap a week later, while teams get a travel break to head for Canada the 18th of June. Then it’s back to the European continent for what’s considered the “meat” of the season.
From the 2nd of July, through to its summer break, F1 competes at Austria, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Belgium before the mid-summer break and a return to The Netherlands on the 27th of August. The final European contest takes place in Italy on the 3rd of September, then it’s fly-away time again for Singapore, Japan, back to Qatar on October 8th and then to COTA on the 22nd of October before heading south to Mexico the final weekend of October. F1 remains in the Americas, first heading to Brazil on November 5th then to Sin City, Las Vegas on the 18th. The championship concludes in Abu Dhabi the final weekend of November.
There are a few issues with this provisional schedule, starting with China, which continues to be beset by the Coronavirus pandemic. China is scheduled for mid-April and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the country will be ready to host this extravaganza. The race at Spa-Francorchamps was slated for the same weekend as that circuit’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, but that was amended, once the F1 dates were revealed; the 24-hour contest is now scheduled for June 29-July 2 to avoid conflict. And there’s always the boomerang effect of the three North/South Americas races leading to the close of the 24-race campaign.
The entire 24-race schedule will be exceptionally tough on all behind-the-scenes employees, whose job it is to prep cars for each race and keep them operating on the track. Ancillary team members could suffer burnout as well. We’ll have to see if the schedule stays as initially set or if other changes are made. Notable by its absence is the Russian Grand Prix.
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