Horner tables idea of 'invitation race' to vary F1 calendar

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes F1 could gain from including on its calendar each year a one-off "invitation race" at an unfamiliar venue, such as the Mugello circuit.

The recent Tuscan Grand Prix was an action-packed exciting event, in part because F1 teams had never raced at the Italian track before, thus adding a bit of a random factor to the mix.

Following the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Formula 1 worked miracles to put together a 17-race schedule, adding to the sport's 2020 agenda a series of circuits either unknown to most teams, such as Mugello and Portimão, or abandoned by F1, such as the Nürburgring, Imola or Istanbul.

Horner suggests mixing up the sport's annual calendar by adding an event at a circuit unfrequently visited by F1.

"It is great that F1 are going to these different venues and we have some more coming up in Istanbul and Imola," Horner said.

"It keeps up the competition for a place for one of the 22 slots on the calendar and I think it would be good to have some sort of invitation race once a year to take in these different tracks."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is also in favour of a calendar rotation in the future.

"I think it’s an interesting new concept that was born out of the necessity to have more races in this COVID era, and it’s interesting," said the Austrian.

"You can certainly see more vulnerability. Teams show up with not a lot of knowledge from these tracks, and you can see that performances are very different to a track where we’ve been a lot of times.

"You come to the Nurburgring or you come to Silverstone, and we’ve been there every single year so there’s not a lot you can optimise by just being creative or being flexible in the thinking because we’ve been there so many times."

Haas boss Guenther Steiner echoed his colleagues' view.

"I like change, if you’re always doing the same thing, you always know the outcome of it – it’s much more predictable when you do more of the same," commented Steiner.

"I think it would be great if we could rotate it, if it’s possible commercially, and that’s for Formula 1 to look into.

"Seeing what happened at Mugello, I’m now really looking forward to the Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola."

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