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Would less be more in Formula 1?

Written by: Neil

The Formula 1 World Championship has always been subject to change. Whether it has been adjustments to the driver and car specification rules, alterations to the point system (remember the double points nonsense from a few years ago?) or innovations such as the day-night race in Singapore (an attempt to copy cricket?) the sport has always been about innovation. 

When it comes to where the Grand Prix races themselves take place, however, the number has generally gone up and not down. In his time as the littlest big boss in sport, Bernie Ecclestone always thought this was a good thing; more money, more exposure, and races being taken to new lands, even if experiments like the USA were abandoned. 

There are now 21 races on the calendar, the highest number ever. Some have suggested raising the number further, including having another go at cracking the US. Could it be that this is too many?

A man who definitely thinks so is Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul. He told Autosport that less would certainly be more, by making each individual race more important instead of simply cramming the calendar. 

He said: "We need to be able to engage with fans but it has to remain something special.

"We are already way above what should be the figure for something special.

"We need to convey a message of pride, of motivation, of energy. With the calendar that we have now, the enthusiasm is not the same as when we were only travelling 15 times per year."

The danger with too many races, he claimed, is that big occasions suddenly become "routine" – something the blue riband events on the motorsport calendar should never be. 

Abiteboul's words may start a heated debate about the appropriate number of Grand Prix races. After all, there comes a time in every sport when things expand too far. Football is in danger of doing this with a bloated 48-team World Cup. Perhaps these are wise words that will save Formula 1 from a similar fate. 

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, comments: "It may be high time for a debate over the number of races the Formula 1 calendar should have. After all, nobody wants the season to go on forever, especially if one driver is way out in front." 

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