Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been giving an early look at how the 2022 calendar is shaping up, with some big races looking likely to miss out on a slot.
Domenicali said that the intention was once again to start with a 23-race itinerary, the same as this year, although ongoing disruption due to the global pandemic situation has since trimmed that to 22.
But even at that length, the calendar still won't have room for every race that wants to hold a Grand Prix event, with Germany one of the biggest names looking set to be sidelined.
A former mainstay of the F1 season with races held at either Hockenheim or the Nurburgring, the race didn't take place in 2015 and 1017 and was dropped from the 2020 and 2021 seasons, although the Eifel Grand Prix at the latter venue was subsequently added to last year's line-up at short notice.
“I have the feeling the organisers don’t really dare to hold a Grand Prix,” Domenicali told Sky Germany when asked if there was any prospect of the event returning to the calendar in 2022.
In contrast there's no question about the Dutch Grand Prix after its successful return to the schedule after 41 years' absence. "Just look at Holland, Zandvoort is sold out for the next three years," Domenicali noted.
A new Miami Grand Prix is expected to join the F1 roadshow next May, with a race in Africa and a return to South Korea also deemed strong possibilities in the medium term. The first Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam in 2010 was won by Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, with the remaining three dominated by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
“I can imagine around a third of the races in Europe and the others around the world,” Domenicali said.
A provisional draft of next year's schedule has traditionally been circulated at the start of August, but the pandemic has complicated plans and delayed announcements.
Last year a rough outline was discussed by teams over the 2020 Italian GP weekend. But this time there's still no word from the FIA or F1, with nothing expected until until the Russian GP at Sochi.
However preliminary versions of the 2022 calendar have emerged this week as reported by RaceFans, RacingNews365.com and the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola is not among the listed races but is considered to be 'first reserve' if an additional event is needed, either to reach the 23-race target or because of one of the other events having to be pulled.
The French Grand Prix is among those thought to be most at risk of being cancelled if the incidence of COVID remains high in the country.
While Bahrain is expected to once again start the season on March 20 with the first outing for F1's new 18-inch tyres, the Saudi Arabian GP would move up the running order and take place the following weekend.
April will see races in Australia and China, both of which have been missing since the start of the coronavirus crisis. May would then see three races in Miami on the 8th, followed by back-to-back races in Spain and Monaco.
Canada and Azerbaijan would return in June, with a packed July seeing an earlier than usual date for the British GP at Silverstone on the 3rd in order to avoid the Wimbledon tennis finals, followed by a double-header of races in France and Austria before ending in Hungary.
After the summer break, the Belgium GP on August 28 would be followed by the Netherlands and Italy and then a weekend off before Russia. October starts with Singapore (or Turkey) on the 2nd, then Japan, the United States GP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and finally Mexico..
The last leg would start in Brazil followed a week later by the season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 20. Final pre-season testing dates and venues are yet to be discussed and confirmed with the teams.
Draft 2022 F1 Calendar