Max Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez threatens to quit F1 if CEO’s comments come true

Formula One cancels Russian Grand Prix following invasion of Ukraine

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Red Bull star Sergio Perez has threatened to leave Formula 1 if the calendar continues to expand. Given the explosion in popularity of the sport, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has spoken about the possibility of perhaps even reaching as many as 30 races in a single season.

F1 is set for a record-breaking 23 races in 2022, as the Russian Grand Prix in September – which was unceremoniously dropped due to the country’s military invasion of Ukraine – is due to be replaced by a second race in either Singapore or a return to Qatar after its debut last year. European circuits are also believed to be battling for the spot on the record calendar. 

The current Concorde Agreement limits the number of races to 24 in a single season, with that many events pencilled in for next season. However, the pact between F1, the FIA and the 10 teams is due to expire in 2025.

The 2023 season will already see Las Vegas join the calendar, while Qatar could return from its break once it has completed its host duties for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. China is also scheduled to return to the calendar following its Covid-enforced absence. 

F1 certainly have the resources to move beyond the 24-race limit, but – despite the immense commercial incentives – the body have suggested this is a route it would rather avoid. Perez believes any more events would move past breaking point for many within the sport. 

“What I’m really optimistic about is the fact it’s growing a lot,” Perez told The Athletic. “I can see wherever we go in the world, you feel it on the streets, people recognise you a lot more, people are into the sport a lot more. There’s a very big demand.

“But on the other hand, having too many races is a no-go – at least for me. Right now, you’re basically [immersed in] it because we have so many races. 

“We have simulator sessions before each event. We have partner events.

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“So we basically have zero time for ourselves and for our families. I have a couple of young children [with a third on the way].

“I think if the calendar [expands] more, then I definitely will not do it.”

His comments come after F1 CEO Domenicali recently declared there is enough demand from venues looking to host F1 that the sport could move to an insane 30 races per year. If such a move happened, it would likely leave Red Bull scrambling to find a partner for world champion Verstappen as Perez would walk away from the sport. 

The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Miami Grand Prix on May 8.

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