Formula One will hold its longest-ever championship in 2023 after the FIA published a 24-race calendar for next season. The sport will begin in early March in Bahrain and then travel to 22 other venues before landing in Abu Dhabi in late November for what is now the traditional Yas Marina season finale. It remains to be seen whether an additional two Grands Prix will enhance the championship or not after all, it is often quality, not quantity, that F1 needs. Nevertheless, 24 races are what we'll get, so let's look at where F1 is heading in 2023.
An Eastern Start
For the second successive season, Australia appears on the calendar, but the Melbourne race around Albert Park is not the season-opener. Before the global pandemic, the Australian Grand Prix was always where Formula One began its international adventure. Not so for 2023, where Bahrain will host another bout of pre-season testing and the curtain raiser for the year.
Amid widespread condemnation, Saudi Arabia remains in Formula One. It seems the human rights abuses of the nation, plus the missile strikes in Jeddah earlier this year during the Grand Prix weekend, aren't enough for the key stakeholders to turn away from the country. So Bahrain and Saudia Arabia are the two Middle Eastern races to start the season before heading to Australia for Round 3 and then a welcome return for a much-missed circuit; Shanghai.
The Chinese Grand Prix hasn't featured in F1 since 2019, but a mid-April slot suggests the country is ready to welcome international racing back to the popular circuit with its iconic 1.2km straight. The races at the Shanghai International Circuit are typically entertaining affairs, so its return will be good to see especially with the new generation cars.
Two weeks after China, Baku enjoys an earlier-than-usual date at the end of April, meaning lower temperatures or even rain could affect the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It swaps position with Imola, which has endured some rather grim Springtime wet weekends since its return as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. April in Azerbaijan will likely be more appealing weatherwise than April in Italy, so the switch seems sensible for attending fans, at least.
In between Azerbaijan and Imola will be another May Miami Grand Prix. The Floridian city is not joining its US counterparts of Austin and Las Vegas in having a late-season race. Although separating the three US races doesn't make sense from a logistics point of view or F1's "Net Zero Carbon by 2030" pledge, the other American races won't cannibalize ticket sales for Miami, which is good for the city, I guess?