F1 set for return to China as 2024 calendar announced

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to stage Saturday races; Japan moves to April, Azerbaijan moves to September.
  • China to stage Grand Prix for first time since 2019
  • Japan moves to April, Azerbaijan moves to September
  • F1 creates triple-header between Las Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi
  • Races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to be held on a Saturday
  • No return for the South African GP

Formula One has confirmed its 2024 calendar, with China finally set to return to the schedule as part of a record-breaking number of races.

The events are identical to the provisional calendar from this season, as China was initially planned to return this season before being cancelled due to the country’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Adjustments have been made to the order of the races, though, with Formula One organisers making a small step towards previous promises of regionalisation.

Japan has moved to April and Azerbaijan has been pushed back to September to create a better grouping of races, although the latter forms a double-header with Singapore over 7,000km away.

Organisers have also created a season-ending triple-header between Las Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, a move that departs from the sustainability-focused messaging of the global motorsport series.

Efforts to move Canada from its traditional June slot have also proved unsuccessful as race organisers believe weather conditions earlier in the year would make staging the race too difficult. Formula One had hoped to pair the race with Miami in May.

This means that Canada remains sandwiched between European visits to Monaco and Spain.

The opening two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be held on a Saturday to accommodate Ramadan.

A notable absence is the South African Grand Prix, which had been rumoured to return for some time before reports emerged that talks between Formula One and circuit organisers reached an impasse due to South Africa’s political ties to Russia.

“I am delighted to announce the 2024 calendar with 24 races that will deliver an exciting season for our fans around the world,” said Stefano Domenicali, president and chief executive of Formula One. “There is huge interest and continued demand for Formula 1, and I believe this calendar strikes the right balance between traditional races and new and existing venues.

“I want to thank all of the promoters and partners for their support and effort to achieve this great schedule. Our journey to a more sustainable calendar will continue in the coming years as we further streamline operations as part of our Net Zero 2030 commitment. We have plenty of racing to look forward to in 2023, including the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, and our fans can look forward to more excitement next season.”

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), added: “We want to make the global spectacle of Formula One more efficient in terms of environmental sustainability and more manageable for the travelling staff who dedicate so much of their time to our sport.

“Stefano Domenicali and his team have done a great job to both bring in new and exciting venues in emerging markets for Formula One, and stay true to the sport's long and remarkable heritage.”

Despite being the same length as the provisional 2023 calendar, this schedule is set to be record-breaking due to the cancellation of China and the abandonment of Imola due to adverse weather conditions reducing the 2023 calendar to 22 races.

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The promises of greater regionalisation of the calendar were always going to fall flat due to existing contractual obligations, evidenced by Canada’s refusal to move out of its June slot.

Where this goal rings hollow is an event like the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which had its contract signed just before promises of grouping the calendar by region were made.

What’s more, Las Vegas will now form part of a season-ending triple-header with Qatar and Abu Dhabi, as opposed to this season when it’s just back-to-back with the latter.

This is all part of a calendar expansion that struggles to align with Formula One’s much-vaunted sustainability goals, with two additional races, and therefore increased emissions, compared to 2023.

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