One of the main talking points of the day in the paddock of Sochi was the expansion of the F1 calendar from 2020 onwards. Most of the drivers turned out to have some strong opinions on the matter, sharing that there has to be a limit at some point. Not only are drivers amongst the biggest concerns, but also mechanics and F1 teams’ personnel are obviously going to be affected by such tight schedules and days spent criss-crossing the world.
Sergio Perez was very vocal on the calendar subject, stating that his limit would be 20 races rather than 22: “I think for us, drivers, it’s a lot of work, but we come here, in some European races, we arrive on Thursdays, early Thursdays. I’m more concerned for the mechanics, engineers. I doubt they will be able to have any social life on this level, so it’s very high. Maybe there will be a point to have two crews"
Kevin Magnussen dealt with the same topic during today’s FIA press conference, expressing a very similar opinion to Perez’s. “Obviously the biggest problem is probably the team, the mechanics; all those guys are working very hard already, so it would be pretty tough for a lot of people in the team and I don’t if it’s going to make it, each race, less valuable in terms of viewers and all that sort of stuff.”
The chances for the F1 calendar to expand even further than 22 races after 2021 are real, and it is still clouded in uncertainty which tracks will be potential new entries. Raikkonen would welcome a race in Finland, perhaps at the KymiRing, which will make its debut in the MotoGP calendar.
But let’s just look at how inconvenient from a logistics-related point of view the China-Vietnam races will be. There is actually a two-week hiatus between the two Asian legs, which implies having the teams travelling back to Europe once the Vietnamese race is done and then going back again to Asia for the Chinese GP.
It would make more sense if those were back-to-back races, but instead the sole logistics to get through both races are going to be a challenge in their own right.
“Usually it is a habit to keep chaning races and some come and some go” Raikkonen said. It has become a trend over the last decade, although some fixed historical races are set to remain on the calendar despite some financial struggles.
For sure, a thicker and busier calendar will add some spice to the season, although it will bring more fatigue to the table.