Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicalli says decisions regarding the sport cannot be left to the drivers as they lack the ability to see the bigger picture.
The former Ferrari team principal welcomed criticism but warned that the sport cannot listen to just the drivers as they are self-serving.
The drivers have expressed frustration at the direction of F1. Notably from Max Verstappen as the reigning world champion warned that the continuous expansion of the calendar, and tampering of the traditional weekend structure, could force the Dutchman to prematurely retire.
But Domenicalli has responded by re-affirming that F1 and Liberty Media know better than the teams regarding decision-making.
“I think it’s good that Max gives his opinion,” said Domenicalli to De Telegraaf. “But we can’t leave the sport in the hands of the drivers.
“Not because they can’t be trusted, since we listen to them, but because they have to look at the bigger picture. And they don’t always do. Their goal is to go as fast as possible, but we as an organisation are in charge of doing what is best for the sport. And we have done so in recent years, otherwise we would not be in this position.”
“As you can see, MotoGP and other sports are also abandoning the traditional approach and we were the first to do so.”
A growing F1 calendar
Since 2019, the last normal season before sprint races were added, the calendar has expanded to include an extra seven races if sprints are factored in.
Rising from 21 to 28, it’s worth remembering that three further Grands Prix were lost following the cancellation of the Emilia-Romagna, Chinese and Russian GP so the total should be an extra ten races if everything operated as planned.
The result has left drivers and teams complaining that the schedule is too demanding to comfortably manage as F1 experiences eight back-to-back weekends in 2023.
“It’s too many for me at least,” Verstappen said ahead of the 2023 British GP. “We just have to deal with it.
“I think it’s a bit more logical the way it’s planned at least, so I guess that’s better for everyone.
“More things will have to come together for me to make my mind up over whether I stay longer [than 2028] or not. But I think that these things are definitely not helping for sure.”