Bernie Ecclestone sounds unfazed that the FIA regulations for 2016 set a cap of just 20 races for the season. Earlier, with Azerbaijan to make its bow next year and Germany returning, a 21-race schedule for 2016 was revealed. But article 5.4 of the newly-published sporting regulations say “the maximum number of events in the championship is 20“.
Asked if he will have to reduce the calendar, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta: “No, I don’t think we are going to reduce it. Maybe we’re going to add to it.”
A calendar counting more than 20 races is not only contrary to the written rules, but also unpopular up and down pitlane, particularly among the members of the travelling fraternity with families and children. But when asked what he considers to be the ideal number of races for F1, Ecclestone said: “I wouldn’t mind if we had as many races as possible. I think maybe there should be 22.”
A bigger concern for Ecclestone is the Red Bull engine crisis that could cost his grid a total of 4 cars ahead of 2016. Amid reports that the energy drink company will patch up its broken relationship with Renault, he commented: “I think we can resolve this issue. But we have agreed not to talk about it at the moment.”
Earlier, however, F1 veteran Jenson Button suggested the sport is actually in a healthy moment with regards to engine supply, with four separate manufacturers all now involved. But Ecclestone insists: “This (situation) is not good. But we cannot force manufacturers to come to formula one. What we need is an independent engine manufacturer. That’s what we are looking for.”