Carlos Sainz joins Russell and Perez as new F1 format changes proposed

Carlos Sainz has joined George Russell and Sergio Perez in criticising the draining nature of the current F1 calendar, although he did accept that the strain facing himself and the other drivers fades in comparison to that of the engineers and team staff.

The calendar has been a contentious topic of late. This year saw a record-equalling 22 races after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled, but next year that number will increase to a gruelling 24 races. With the travel demands placed on staff already taking its toll, that number is seen by many to be unsustainable.

“I do believe that moving forward, 24 races, I think is the limit with the kind of schedules that we have now,” Sainz suggested. “I think a lot of teams are going now into rotational programmes with mechanics, engineers, and just speaking to a lot of teams in the paddock, everyone is channelling themselves to do rotational programmes.

“Obviously, I don’t think you can rotate drivers. But yeah, let’s see. Let’s see where the sport goes. I’m curious to see what are the ideas for the future because I do strongly believe that moving forward there needs to be changes for the weekend format or the way we go around media events and commitments.

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“24 races I think it’s going to be the limit or on the limit and to keep everyone’s health, not only the drivers, but mechanics and people that travel around is going to be important.”

This opinion lines up with the comments of Russell, who was keen to vocalise his support for the idea of rotating staff attendance at different races on the calendar. The 2023 season came to an end with five races in the space of six weekends, leaving drivers and team members exhausted and longing for the winter break.

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He stated: “I think there are talks for next year about personnel being regulated that they can’t do every single race. I think that would be a good thing. I don’t think it’s sustainable to 4,000 people, I think to do 24 races a season. Especially when you see how geographically [diverse the calendar is], it still doesn’t make a huge amount of sense.”

This idea was also backed up by Checo, who added: “I think it’s something that we’ve got to be taking very seriously because it’s important for the sport. For the drivers, too. To obviously keep having these long careers that we’ve seen from the staff, from the mechanics… we want them to have very long careers as well. So I think it’s something we must consider.”

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