FIA Vice President for Sport Robert Reid said there would be “great support” in helping ease the clash between the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1, especially as we go to the centenary of next year’s French endurance classic race.
This year’s Le Mans, which returns to its traditional term in mid-June, clashes with the Azerbaijani Grand Prix in Baku for the second time since 2016 when the two competitions were also held the same weekend.
Although he has had no active F1 drivers online since Nico Hulkenberg won Le Mans in 2015 with Porsche, Kevin Magnussen was due to be in a High Class Racing LMP2 race with his father, Jan, before Kevin was late to Haas, which eliminated any hope of entering the pairing of father and son who was first on the reserve list.
Speaking to reporters during last year’s TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa, the former WRC co-driver expressed hope that a decision will be made in time for next year’s event.
“I was sitting down to dinner last night with Pierre Fillon, so I’m certainly familiar with the ACO’s stance on the subject, especially given the 100th anniversary coming next year,” Reid said.
“One of the challenges we have is that the FIA does not have autonomy over calendars. The WEC works the way all championships work like the FIA, so the promoter will suggest a calendar and then it’s up to the FIA to accept that calendar or not.
“In some championships, it is limited to security issues or anything else. Formula 1 is a little different in that they pretty much decide which calendar it is.
“I think it’s all a bit of a negotiation, but I would certainly be very supportive of the conflict, in general. But next year in particular, this is a good opportunity for us to say that we will not have a clash next year, and that should be the norm in the future. “
Reid said the FIA’s relationship with F1 Liberty Media was “a situation we inherited” and something FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem wants to ensure the FIA has greater visibility in decision-making situations.
“The way the Formula One Commission was set up gives the FIA the opportunity to decide not to support certain things,” Reid said.
“You have all seen that the F1 Commission, in sprint races … The FIA President has decided to postpone his support for the increase [the number of] sprinting races until he realized the situation going forward.
“I know a lot of the media has made a big deal out of it. I’m not sure it’s such a big thing it’s made of. But that’s one way the FIA can make sure things are going in the right direction, not just agree all the time. “
Asked if the FIA’s position is to avoid conflict in the future, Reid said: “I would have to talk to the president about it, but it is certainly my opinion that for next year, especially in the centenary year, it would be very good if we did not clashed.
“And then look at what we can do next. Somehow we are running out of weekends, now that the championships have more and more rounds.
“Someone joked yesterday that Formula 1 could have 56 cars in a 54-week year. It’s a challenge. But sport is growing and you have to take advantage of that time when sport is going well and more people want to get involved. ”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report