Formula One teams were left angry and frustrated when taken by surprise at the FIA’s announcement of the sport’s calendar for 2023. The governing body’s unexpected release of the new schedule took place without warning and without the teams’ approval of a triple-header for next season, ramping up the increasingly fractious relationship at the heart of the sport.
The 24-race schedule was declared on Tuesday without the usual collaboration with F1 itself, the sport’s commercial rights holder. Sources within the sport believe it has only compounded the sense of fatigue and disconnect the teams feel with the FIA which became clear after the Italian Grand Prix. One team member said the FIA’s attitude was “unacceptable”.
The new calendar had been expected on Friday. However after a meeting of the world motor sport council on Tuesday the FIA unilaterally released it. It features a record number of races in a season that opens in Bahrain on 5 March and concludes in Abu Dhabi on 26 November.
The lack of notice was not the only problem felt within the sport. The inclusion of a fly-away triple header of USA, Mexico and Brazil requires the approval of the teams. It is expected they would accept the proposal, as they have in the past, but there was exasperation that the FIA failed to consult them.
F1 officials were also surprised by the announcement, a state of affairs that is unlikely to improve the already testing relationship between the sport’s owners and its governing body. The sport was given no chance to separately publicise the new deal they had done with the Monaco GP until 2025 or the confirmation of the date of the new Las Vegas GP. Instead they had to swiftly issue press releases confirming them in the wake of the calendar.
After the Italian GP, the FIA and its president, Mohammed ben Sulayem, took considerable criticism over their slow issuing of the grid after qualifying and then the use of the safety car at the end of the race.
The governing body has insisted it retains a good working relationship with the teams but an already fraught atmosphere has now only intensified as the teams consider the longest, most gruelling season in the sport’s history.