F1 must avoid Le Mans conflicts in the future

The former rally co-driver, who was elected along with new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulay last December, commented ahead of next month’s clash between the central round of the World Endurance Championship and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

He noted that avoiding conflict next year will be especially important as Le Mans celebrates its 100th anniversary.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to say that next year we shouldn’t have a clash and that should become the norm,” Reid said during a visit to the Spa WEC round last weekend.

“I would support that there be no conflict, in general and especially next year.”

Reid admits that the FIA ​​”has no autonomy” over the F1 calendar.

“The WEC works the way all F1 championships work, with the promoter proposing a calendar, and it’s up to the FIA ​​whether to accept that calendar or not,” he explained.

“F1 is a little different because they mostly decide which calendar it is.”

He suggested that avoiding conflicts on dates would likely boil down to “negotiations” with Formula One and its Liberty Media owners, who hold commercial rights to F1.

Reid, who won the 2001 World Rally Championship with Richard Burns, added that he was expressing a personal view and would have to check with Ben Sulay to see if that was his opinion.

He revealed that Pierre Fillon, president of the organizers of Le Mans and promoter of the WEC Automobile Club de l’Ouest, raised the issue with him at the Spa.

Winners of race # 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photo by: JEP / Pictures of motorsport

“I was sitting down to dinner last night with Pierre, so I’m familiar with the ACO’s opinion, especially given the 100th anniversary coming next year,” he said.

Le Mans / Baku clash for the weekend of 11/12. June this year is the first between the French enduro and the F1 race in the last six years.

The WEC double-point competition was held on the same weekend as the F1 competition in Baku in 2016, which was called the European Grand Prix in its inaugural year.

Original schedules for the 2020 and ’21 seasons. cited the Canadian GP on the same weekend as Le Mans, but a reorganization of the international motorsport calendar in the face of the COVID pandemic resulted in the WEC race being held on weekends without F1 races in both years.

Reid acknowledged the difficulties of avoiding conflict as the number of major F1 awards continues to grow.

“Somehow we’re running out of weekends, and the championship has more and more cars,” he said.

This year’s F1 World Championships will expand to a record 23 races if the canceled Grand Prix of Russia scheduled for Sochi is replaced as planned.

It is likely to grow again next year when the third U.S. Grand Prix in Las Vegas joins the calendar, and the competition in Qatar returns after 2021 to replace the Australian Grand Prix on a one-off basis.

Jean Todt, Ben Sulayem’s predecessor as FIA president, has also expressed a desire to leave Le Mans without F1 during his tenure.

The Frenchman apologized when the reig of the 2016 calendar resulted in a conflict with Le Mans, while emphasizing the difficulties in compiling international calendars.

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