FIA President Jean Todt is pushing to “harmonize” the calendars in FIA-sanctioned championships to prevent future clashes between series, including the World Endurance Championship.
Todt held a meeting with Formula One’s Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn, FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu and Formula E boss Alejandro Agag in Monaco last weekend to discuss the current calendars and work towards a “better alignment” of schedules in the future.
Date clashes, primarily involving the WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans, have been in the spotlight in recent years, with last year’s F1 European Grand Prix in Baku having prevented any F1 drivers, including 2015 Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenburg, from racing in the French endurance classic.
More recently, the Formula E double-header in New York, which falls on the same weekend as the WEC Six Hours of Nürburgring in July, has a number of drivers competing full-time in both series having to choose one or the other and potentially compromising their championships.
The WEC and Formula E previously had a gentleman’s agreement to prevent clashes up until this season.
“In close collaboration with its Promoters, the FIA has in recent years worked hard to build and consolidate a wide variety of championships that provide great entertainment for motor sport fans,” Todt said.
“As such, it is important that everyone involved in our championships works towards ensuring that fans have every opportunity to enjoy our championships to the full.
“Today, in collaboration with our partners, we have begun the process of harmonizing our sporting calendars and I look forward to continuing this effort as we define our championship schedules for next season and beyond.”
Neveu admitted that finalizing dates for races is “one of the most challenging tasks” for promoters.
“We all work hard to produce calendars that make practical, economical and climatic sense, and we try and avoid clashes between championships,” he said.
“Our positive meeting in Monaco yesterday has begun a new process to further harmonize our calendars for the benefit of all motor sport fans.”
The WEC could feature a reduced calendar next year, in the possible elimination of one round on grounds of costs savings, with Neveu and ACO President Pierre Fillon also currently evaluating different race lengths to add variety to the current six-hour race format.