Motorlat was in the paddock at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix and one of the themes which became apparent at the numerous press conferences attended is that the majority of teams feel the race calendar is large enough. As such, people seem all too aware that should it be further extended in coming seasons, it will be the mechanics, caterers and all other team personnel that will suffer in the long run. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen put it simply saying the drivers have it easy whereas ‘it’s very tough on small teams – they’re made of something special’.
When is too many too much? This is a question which Formula One may have to consider answering in the near future. F1 is currently only allowed to host 24 races until 2025, but recent months have seen F1 boss Stefano Domenicali reiterate the potential for Formula 1 to produce a thirty-race calendar in future. Although, this was clearly news to Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner when informed at Haas’ press conference in Miami, as he said, “I didn’t hear the talk about the getting up to thirty but for sure there is a saturation factor in everything.” With that in mind Steiner went on to say:
“We need to find that limit. I think as long as we can keep it interesting and you know like now next year with the three sprint races to spice it up…23, 25 times the same thing over, after a while you don't gain the momentum but if you have sprint races it helps keep the interest going but I don't know where we would end up. I'm sure F1, FOM keeps an eye on it where the saturation factor comes in.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen was asked as to the demand on drivers with an ever-increasing calendar. Haas F1 Team’s returning racer was quick to dismiss the impact it has on him, saying instead ‘we have it easy’. Magnussen then went on to outline where his concern lies.
“For the team, for the mechanics, for the catering people…I think already now it’s too many. It’s different, you know, some of the biggest teams they can shift around so some people go half a season, and another set of mechanics go half so they get a lot of races off…it’s very tough on small teams, they’re made of something special.”
It is no secret that Stefano Domenicali has been vocal about his desire to extend the race calendar. However, as much as it may seem that the vastly electronic cars can run themselves nowadays, in reality they require an army of people every single race weekend. Not forgetting the fact that this is just counting those present at the track let alone the vast bases of operations and strategic units which some teams have back at their factories.
Netflix Drive to Survive (yes, that again) has proved successful at showcasing the glamour of F1. However, it has not yet shone the spotlight on the immense logistics required to get an event in the pinnacle of motorsport underway.
F1 is a team sport and as such requires a mammoth team for it to run. A Formula One paddock, now filled with more celebrities than ever if Miami is anything to go by, takes several days to assemble. In the days prior to the lights going out on Sunday, the paddock is a hive of activity as trucks unload and teams tirelessly assemble their base camp for the weekend. This in turn then begins to be packed up as soon as the chequered flag falls. These fleets of lorries navigating the site and teams placing their cargo on the starting grid both before and after a race weekend is quite a sight to see.
Anyone who has been fortunate enough to remain in the paddock in the hours after a race concludes, can surely recount tales of luminous jackets as far as the eye can see and pick-up trucks navigating the narrowest of pathways as they haul the cargo away. Stefano Domenicali may have aspiration for a considerably larger race calendar but to imagine being able to replicate this gargantuan effort at thirty different events in a single year is hard to fathom and nor should anyone want to.