The axe has once again fallen at Red Bull Racing in the middle of a Formula One season, as the former world champions announced that incumbent Pierre Gasly has been dropped in favour of star rookie Alexander Albon.
Less is more and more is less is the philosophy believed to be behind the structuring of the Supercars championship calendar for 2020, with the current roster of events set to be trimmed back to 14.
Of the current 16-race meetings on the calendar, two of them are set to face the chop, which are said to be the Victorian events at Phillip Island and Winton. More night racing, a new endurance race and a winter break are all proposed instead for 2020.
Lack of state funding from the Victorian government and impending fresh deals for the three Queensland rounds will see the demise of Phillip Island and Winton for now, while the overall desire to cut costs is what has led to the trimming of the calendar.
Supercars has long discussed cost-cutting across the board and in 2019 the banning of the multi-springs and trialling of parc fermé regulations post-qualifying at select rounds is already a step in that direction.
A more compact schedule also eases the financial strain on the teams, who already travel to almost every corner of Australia and then the annual trek to New Zealand’s Pukekohe Raceway.
The proposed structure of the calendar, which is yet to be released by Supercars, will see the Adelaide 500 brought forward to a late February slot and see the conclusion of the 14-round championship in November with the Newcastle 500.
With the Australian Grand Prix confirmed for confirmed for March 12-15, it is likely that the second round of Supercars will be in March and then, like this year, be twinned with the Tasmania SuperSprint to ease the burden of travel for the Queensland-based teams.
Back-to-back night races in Perth and Sydney Motorsport Park, which will return to the calendar after a year off, will be a great addition given the immediate success that the SuperNight events have had since being introduced in 2018.
The promotion, too, of Tailem Bend to the Enduro Cup will be hotly anticipated, given the complex layout of the circuit and impressive scale of the facilities. This does mean that Sandown misses out on the endurance races altogether, but is set to retain a spot on the calendar as the penultimate sprint round of the season.
The bone of contention with the reduction in races for next year will be the frequency of events during winter, and this has always been a spectator issue, especially at this time of year with a lull between Darwin, Townsville and Ipswich.
A winter break as mooted between Townsville and Ipswich from July to mid-August seems more palatable than a stop/start schedule, where momentum and interest builds in the championship and then suddenly is broken.
The potential spread of the new calendar makes more sense and provides greater balance than the current product.
Where the truth in all this will lie is seeing what effect it has on teams next year financially and also the impact on viewership.
After all, less can often lead to more and having fewer races could provide a more exciting championship.