At the beginning of the year, the FIA and Formula 1 announced that the calendar for the 2021 season would have a total of 23 races, the season with the most races in the entire history of motorsport's top category. However, this did not reach reality because many races were cancelled due to the current pandemic generated by the virus of Chinese origin, Covid-19. Even with the addition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, this season will have a maximum of 22 races, however, in 2022 it is also planned to be 23 races, as the Miami Grand Prix will be added. With the reveal of next season's schedule just around the corner (expected to be announced next Friday), many personalities within the Formula 1 paddock have shared their thoughts on the physical and emotional toll that comes with having 23 GPs. As for AlphaTauri's crew chief, Franz Tost, he has commented that it is not a big problem for his Italian team members, as they are given time off after each Grand Prix weekend.
“We know we have 23 races, it’s fantastic, good job from F1. I’m looking forward to it.” He affirmed.
“Regarding the people at the track – first of all, we are a race team – they all should be happy as we have as many races as possible. Of course, we take care of the people, for example, the mechanics after a race weekend they have three or four days off where they can stay at home.”
“Also press, marketing, all the people at the racetrack have three days off after the race weekend. The engineers is a little more difficult. But back in former times, the y had to go after a race weekend to test. So, they also had to work there.”
“We all should be happy to be in a position to be in F1 and have 23 races. If someone doesn’t like it, he should go.” He stated.
Likewise, Sebastian Vettel had also commented that the category should not neglect the people who work in the organization, such as drivers and team members, only to want to increase the number of races that are made in a season. Similarly, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff came up with an interesting idea - during an interview with motorsport.com - so that there is not so much physical and emotional burden on the people who have to go to all the races of the season.
“I think as much as we want to race around the globe, and we want to provide a great show in really good destinations, and make sure that the sport is growing in terms of audiences, footprint and commercial revenue, we also need to see what toll it takes on the people.” Toto Wolff affirmed.
“23 races, with triple-headers, is something that takes a toll. Now, you can adopt the old-style mentality, and say ‘well, be happy that you are in F1, and if you can’t cope, then do something else’, which is totally contrary to how I operate. We need to create an environment where it becomes sustainable. We don’t want to reduce races, I’m absolutely with Stefano [Domenicali] there.”
What can affect people who travel the most is the time change, and obviously the workload. There will be 23 races in a total of 22 countries around the planet. Many of these trips are non-stop, that is, in a week you travel to one country, in less than a week to another, and in a few days to another. Wolff proposes rotating the staff to give rest to the people who have to go to all the races, such as engineers, mechanics, assembly personnel, etc.
“We need to come up with some kind of regulatory environment and say how many races can someone attend, and have a rotational quota. We all have junior people in the organisations that we are bringing up that maybe haven’t been in the frontline, or in the hot seat.”
“If it’s the same for everybody; it will also help people to be exposed to the high pressure environment of the race track, on the field, rather than just working in the background. If you know that everybody has to do it, and everybody has to develop the younger people, I think that’s a tremendous initiative.”