The 2023 F1 calendar initially featured 24 races, until the Chinese GP was removed due to the enduring impact of COVID-19.
The last-minute cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP due to flooding found many team members either already in Italy or en route. Consequently, they effectively labored for 23 weekends, even though the Imola race never happened.
The Shanghai event will reappear on the 2024 calendar, meaning the sport will tackle 24 events for the first time, assuming no other changes.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown, when queried by F1 Flow.com about next year’s schedule, stated, “I believe 24 is the maximum. Stefano [Domenicali] intends to make it so.
“There’s likely demand for around 30 grands prix. I’d like to envision a day where you have 24 grands prix, but to engage more markets, maybe you have 20 fixed grands prix and eight rotational. This way, you’re present in 28 markets 24 times a year.
“I think that’s a fantastic approach to maintain the current calendar yet still expand it.
“Logistically, the schedule has certainly improved. Each territory has reasons for wanting a specific date or has other events or holidays to consider. Therefore, it’s a high priority for all of us, and I’m certain it will continually improve.”
Mike Krack of Aston Martin emphasized the necessity of staff rotation between events to avoid burnout.
“The 24 races has sparked a lot of debate,” said Krack. “We also have the double headers, the triple headers.
“Overall, we’re probably close to the maximum of what we can handle or accept. It’s up to the teams to make this feasible for their employees.
“All teams are discussing this and trying to find solutions. However, it does highlight the sport’s strength, and we have all agreed to this. Now we need to make it sustainable for everyone.”
Williams head James Vowles concurred, acknowledging that efficient staff rotation has become a critical strategy for all teams.
“This is an optimization issue,” he noted. “We can’t keep using the same people indefinitely. We need to reconsider, to some extent, how we operate racing organizations.
“But there are racing series that manage 32 or more weekends a year. It’s just an optimization problem. How can we ensure a sustainable lifestyle for everyone while continuing to perform?”
Fred Vasseur of Ferrari confirmed that the Italian team will advocate for more rotation next year. He also recognized that the number of races mirrors F1’s current popularity.
“Life is much easier for me than for the mechanics,” the Frenchman admitted. “We must remember that it’s the mechanics, not the team principals, who would have a legitimate grievance. We’re trying to start a rotation for them.
“However, we must avoid being arrogant. Five years ago, we struggled to find 16 or 17 eager promoters for the races. Today, we are very successful, and I would refrain from saying, ‘No, I want to stay home next weekend. I have a barbecue with my wife!’
“You can always say 24. It’s more than 23 and less than 25. And I don’t know what the right number is, but I have the sense that it’s fairly balanced.
“We certainly need a kind of rotation for the guys, because again, they arrive on the track on Monday or Tuesday and leave on Monday, which is not the same life as me arriving on Thursday and leaving on Sunday evening. For me, it’s fine. For them, we will implement rotation.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 24-race calendar
What is the concern regarding the F1 24-race calendar for 2024?
The concern with a 24-race calendar is the potential for staff burnout due to the intensive schedule. Team leaders are emphasizing the need for efficient planning and staff rotation to mitigate this.
Why was the Chinese GP dropped from the 2023 calendar?
The Chinese GP was dropped from the 2023 F1 calendar due to the lingering effects of COVID-19.
How is McLaren CEO Zak Brown viewing the expansion of the F1 calendar?
Zak Brown believes 24 races is the maximum manageable number. However, he proposes a rotation system of fixed and rotating grand prix races to engage more markets without increasing the total number of races.
What are the proposed solutions to handle the expanded F1 race calendar?
Proposed solutions include effective staff rotation between events and efficient planning to prevent burnout. Teams are also exploring how to make this schedule sustainable for their employees.
How is Ferrari planning to handle the potential increase in races?
Ferrari team principal, Fred Vasseur, confirmed that the team will promote more staff rotation in the upcoming year to better manage the demanding schedule.