Formula 1

F1 assures drivers that they're looking at "quality over quantity" with races

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Formula One bosses have said that drivers will be included in any discussions over the expansion of the calendar.

The news comes after Fernando Alonso talked about potentially quitting the sport if the demands on drivers became too high.

With a current season of 20 races, last season saw 21, the most ever, and next year, things are set to hit that level again, prompting the former world champion to speak out.

"I started when the calendar was 16 races, plus the tests, and now we keep on increasing the races year after year and I think we are in a number that is quite demanding already.

"The life you have, between the preparation, the sponsor events, the tests, the commitments you have plus 20-21 races, I think is already enough."

The 35-year-old went on to question his future in the sport if such an expansion was to happen, saying: "If there are 25 or 26 races or whatever, I think it's good in one aspect but in other aspects, in how demanding becomes your life, at this point of my career, I consider that a good quality of life is more important than to do more seasons in F1."

The Spaniard did, however, say he was happy with the current level, but didn't want to end up with a situation such as the one in NASCAR.

"If the calendar stays between 20-21 I'll be happy to continue. If it's increasing, like NASCAR -- they have 40 or 50 races -- it's not for me. It's better for other drivers."

When asked about his thoughts, Lewis Hamilton gave a brief response, leaning towards Alonso's standing.

"I haven't really given it any thought but I understand what Fernando's saying and tend to agree with him", the Briton said.

Commercial managing director Sean Bratches was quick to put fears to rest, however, with a statement on Friday, saying that any talks to expand would involve listening to the concerns of the drivers.

He said: "Every time we've had this conversation, we've gone in with the spirit of partnership. I think we've always been very up front that the decisions we're going to make going forward are going to be based on a partnership with our partners, the teams, the drivers, the FIA.

"We're going to be very consultative going forward and very thoughtful, and we're going to do things in the interest of growing the sport and the fan base. I think looking at that collectively, we'll be having a lot of conversations with our partners before making those decisions, as we've said."

F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey used the term 'quality over quantity' to describe the sport's expansion strategy ahead of a planned second race in the US.

"Our focus right now is making the races we have this year, 20 races we have this year, the 21 races we have next year, be everything they can and should be," Carey explained. "We think we can take those events to another level and that should be our focus and our priority at this point.

"Engaging and evaluating opportunities we talked about, adding another race in the US in a destination city such as New York, Miami, Las Vegas, continuing to evaluate those things, but priority one is really focusing on making the events we have great. It's a quality over quantity focus for us."

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