Mark Webber is worried that adding more races could kill the appeal of F1
The 2016 season featured a record 21 races on the schedule as Bernie Ecclestone strived to sell the sport to as many countries as possible.
And while the legendary supremo has been shifted sideways, Liberty’s new F1 CEO Chase Carey is also understood to be keen on expanding the season further.
But Webber, a veteran of 215 F1 races and now a commentator for Channel 4, is not convinced that in this case more is necessarily better.
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“I hope we don’t go to too many races,” Webber told Express Sport.
“I’d like to keep an eye on that.
“You don’t want it to get like football which is on every five minutes.
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“Football is obviously the biggest sport in the world but in Formula One we need to keep that exclusivity.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they cope with that.
“They’ve got a lot of runway in front of them to do some tremendous things and build on what Bernie did.
Mark Webber believes Red Bull and Ferrari must be fighting with Mercedes for the good of the sport
“He took the sport from virtually nothing to something colossal.”
The 2017 season is one of the most anticipated in recent years after a raft of regulation changes over the winter aimed at increasing cornering speeds and overtaking opportunities.
The new rules had been expected to act as something of a ‘reset button’ on the pecking order after three years of near-total Mercedes dominance.
However, Lewis Hamilton and retired world champion Nico Rosberg’s replacement Valtteri Bottas logged more laps during pre-season testing in Barcelona than any other team.
But second in terms of long running were Ferrari, who last year went winless for the second time in three years.
And Webber believes it is crucial for both the famous Italians and his old team Red Bull to be fighting Mercedes at the front of the grid.
“Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes all look pretty tight,” Webber added.
“I wouldn’t know where to put my money for the first three or four races because it looks open.
“Ferrari have shown good reliability while Red Bull probably haven’t shown their whole hand yet – but they look a bit flakey on reliability even if they’ve got a fast car.
“Mercedes might be struggling a little bit but who knows?
“In terms of competitiveness at the front, it looks the best it has in a long time.
“The cars are bloody quick which is what we need.
“The last four or five years have been way too slow.
“The drivers have got to be stimulated and enjoying it.”
***Channel 4 is the home of free-to-air Formula 1 in the UK with live coverage of 10 Grand Prix this season and comprehensive highlights of every race weekend. You can watch the highlights of the Australian Grand Prix on Channel 4 from 2pm on 26th March. For more information visit here***