Formula 1 teams were angry and frustrated when they were caught off guard by the FIA’s announcement of the 2023 sporting calendar. The governing body’s unexpected release of the new schedule came without warning and without the approval of a triple-header for next season from teams that are driving increasingly fractious relationships at the heart of the sport.
The 24-race schedule was announced on Tuesday without the usual collaboration with F1 itself, the sport’s commercial rights holder. Sources within the sport believe this has only added to the teams’ sense of fatigue and disconnection from the FIA, which was evident after the Italian Grand Prix. A team member said the FIA’s stance was “unacceptable”.
The new calendar was expected on Friday. However, after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, the FIA unilaterally cleared them. It features a record number of races in a season that begins March 5th in Bahrain and ends November 26th in Abu Dhabi.
The lack of attention wasn’t the only problem felt within the sport. Inclusion of USA-Mexico-Brazil fly-away triple header requires team approval. They are expected to accept the proposal, as they have done in the past, but there was anger that the FIA had failed to consult them.
F1 officials were also surprised by the announcement, a state of affairs that is unlikely to improve the already difficult relationship between the sport’s owners and its governing body. The sport was not given a chance to separately publicize the new deal they had in place with the Monaco GP running until 2025 or confirmation of the date of the new Las Vegas GP. Instead, they had to quickly issue press releases that confirmed them in the wake of the calendar.
After the Italian GP, the FIA and its President Mohammed ben Sulayem received considerable criticism for their slow starting grid after qualifying and the deployment of the safety car at the end of the race.
The governing body has insisted it maintains a good working relationship with teams, but an already tense atmosphere has only intensified now as teams contemplate the longest and most grueling season in the sport’s history.