Grouping events so that the schedule makes more sense logistically has been a key goal of F1 as it seeks to bolster its green reputation by reducing its carbon footprint by streamlining both freight movements and staff travel.
The close of the 2022 calendar, with Brazil immediately followed by Abu Dhabi – some 15 hours of flight – is a classic example of how the current schedule contains some anomalies.
Nielsen says such issues will be addressed in the coming years, but he admits it will take time.
“We are working on regionalizing the calendar,” he said. “We have a future calendar, I won’t tell you what year, but we have a future kind of perfect calendar, within a few years.
“And we’re gradually moving towards that every year, moving an event here or there by a week. So there’s a strategy to get from where we are now, which we’re not happy with, to a much happier place in a few years. But it is a gradual process.”
Nielsen admitted that F1 is framed by existing race agreements tied to certain dates.
“It’s a journey,” he said. “As you’re sure, we don’t start every year with a blank calendar, we don’t have the freedom to put races exactly where we would like them.
“Some of our promoter deals are historic, long-term. And they have clauses that may not give us the freedom we would like, so we have to work closely with those promoters and flatter them and convince them that we need to change things. And I’m not going to get into what those are, that wouldn’t be right.
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“But it’s not just problems there. there are other reasons why people don’t want to run a race at a certain time of the year. It could be weather related, there could be another major event happening in the country at the same time on any given weekend.
“So there’s a lot of kinds of influences that define it, and it’s going to take some time to get there. I think the most important thing is that that journey has now begun. We understand and appreciate the benefits of regionalization.”
Nielsen noted that there are still lingering effects of COVID that affect planning in a logistical sense.
“I’m really looking forward to the day when we can’t talk about it anymore, but the effects of COVID are still with us, even logistics,” he said.
“There’s one or two races that aren’t where they normally would be because of the effects of COVID, and we’re still dealing with that a bit, and it’s part of the journey I was talking about when we got the repeat calendar.
“Those of us who regularly board a plane can attest that even moving ourselves is not as easy as it used to be, let alone cargo, whether it be by air or sea.
“I honestly don’t know how much of that is COVID related, but the world in general isn’t that easy to move around in, be it a person or a box. as it was before COVID.”