F1’s 23 race schedule is a record

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Once it became clear that the 2022 F1 calendar, announced yesterday, would include 23 races, staff well-being became a recurring theme. The mental, physical and social effects of such a grueling schedule emerged throughout the Turkish Grand Prix weekend in press conferences with the drivers, team managers and officials.

Ironically, these weren’t the right people to toast, not least because 10 team leaders collectively signed the Concorde 2021-25 deal – or at least were party to approval by powers above them – which states that the commercial rights holder must not, without the team’s full consent, submit a calendar containing more than 24 Grand Prizes in a calendar year.

Therefore, the CRH can have up to 24 rounds inclusive. If the team leaders had had a problem with these many events, they could have refused to put pen to paper. Indeed, where previously the number of events was a problem insofar as large teams could afford staff turnover, this factor no longer applies under budget ceilings: all teams are treated equally, and it is up to them to decide where their spending priorities lie.

Although all of the drivers interviewed expressed concern about the effects of an extended schedule, they are among all the players in the paddock the easiest commute in that they fly privately, are with a driver, live a life style. five star life and in some cases earn more than the payroll. of some teams on the grid. Under these circumstances, what can drivers say (when asked directly) other than to voice their concerns about it?

Miami’s new race will bring the calendar to 23 races

Team managers accepted the program because more races equals more money equals more jobs – at all levels, within the whole team. Reduce the number of races and the team’s income decreases accordingly, not only in terms of prize money, but also in terms of sponsor income. Here’s the catch: teams currently employ an average of 700 people, around 100 of whom travel to the races, or 14%. Additional events create opportunities for the remaining 86%.

That said, regardless of team consent and driver platitudes, the overriding question is whether a 23-race schedule and the associated travel activities are achievable, or whether F1 has indeed bitten more than it does. can chew in terms of timing. Sure, it’s a busy schedule, but is it inhuman or just annoying for about 100 shift travelers in an industry that directly employs around 10,000 people?

For starters, every civilized country – read those in which F1 teams are domiciled – has labor laws that specifically state the hours employees can work over a certain period. If teams operate outside of these provisions, employees have every right to seek legal redress – yet no court cases are known to have occurred in F1.

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Travel and / or extended absences of loved ones is not limited to F1: salespeople do, as do truckers, pilots, oil rig and ship workers, and more. In many cases, travelers have reported doing it for longer periods with less comfort and often for less work pay and satisfaction than in F1. When they tire of traveling, they change jobs and don’t expect the business to change.

Report: Tost defends F1’s 23 race calendar – “Those who don’t like it should go”

Ultimately, it’s about choice, passion and temperament, and therefore no different from other careers. To expect a business, any business, which involves intensive travel for 14% of its workforce, to change the way it operates is simply unrealistic. After all, there are plenty of internal opportunities, and for every member of the F1 team there are probably 10 capable underdogs who would jump at the chance to work in F1 in one form or another.

As the number of events steadily increased, the number of test days decreased, with remote working further reducing the need to travel. In a recent survey I conducted with six teams on working remotely during race weekends, the average number of employees in their “mission control rooms” was 35. Previously, they should have traveled. This number can only increase, reducing travel.

Cedric Selzer, who was the racing engineer equivalent of Jim Clark when the Lotus driver won the F1 World Championship in 1963, gave an interesting take on the issue of staff overload. Selzer (whose autobiography “If you come second you lose” is worth researching) builds the team’s cars from blueprints during the offseason, but he and his teammates – two per entry – drove the carriers across Europe during the season, then took care of the cars once on the track.

“We rode in teams – to Enna (in Sicily) – then spent sleepless nights, as many as needed,” he recalls, adding that the European rounds were car races with customs points at each border and a raft. currency per trip – no Easyjet, truck stops or credit cards at the time. How many F1 races did he compete in that season?

“There were 24 of them, 10 of which were world championship events and the rest non-championship races, but no less demanding for that.”

A total of 32 races of this type were scheduled that year (including two on the same day, because not all teams necessarily competed in them all). Admittedly, the proportion of events outside Europe was not as high as it is today. But 50 years ago, staff also did not enjoy a mandatory curfew on race weekend working hours imposed by rules as crews do today.

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When air travel was needed, it was by turboprop engines without the amenities or speed of today’s airplanes. South Africa was on the schedule and was a long haul, and teams traveled to the United States and Mexico. In between those two races, they headed to Detroit to install a Ford engine on a Lotus Indianapolis “mule” racer. No free time then?

Clark won at Monza in 1963, the 27th race for F1 cars that year

“Of course not, we were there to work,” laughs Selzer.

Under these circumstances, it’s no wonder Selzer recalls being away from home for over a month on occasion, with three flyaway races falling during that time. However, he considers himself lucky to have escaped Tasmanian duties – his colleagues messed up the straw and were sent to Downunder for a series of events which later became known as the Tasman Cup. They left six weeks …

“We had a different mental attitude,” says Selzer. “We did it out of passion for the sport, not out of money.”

When Selzer decided to settle down, he looked for a home-based job in motor racing – there were fewer teams and opportunities then, but he managed to find one – hitting the road every now and then. . Times have, of course, changed, and mainly for the better; mentalities have softened, always for the better, but the fundamentals remain the same: choice, passion and temperament.

Without these key ingredients, a traveling F1 career is bound to be miserable, whether the calendar has three races or 23. Then the only option is to be one of the 86% – and that gap certainly presents enough opportunity.

grand prix season 1963

Dated Event Place Country Remarks
January 5 New Zealand Grand Prix Pukekohe New Zealand Non-championship
January 12 Levin International Wine New Zealand Non-championship
January 19 Lady Wigram Trophy Christchurch New Zealand Non-championship
January 26 Teretonga Trophy Invercargill New Zealand Non-championship
February 10 Australian Grand Prix Warwick Farm Australia Non-championship
February 17 International by the lake Edge of the lake Australia Non-championship
March 4 South Pacific Trophy Longford Australia Non-championship
March 11 Sandown Park Trophy Sandown Park Australia Non-championship
March 30 Lombank Trophy Snetterton Britain Non-championship
April 15 Glover Trophy Good wood Britain Non-championship
April 15 Pau Grand Prix Pau France Non-championship
April 21th Imola Grand Prix Imola Italy Non-championship
April 25 Grand Prix of Syracuse Syracuse Italy Non-championship
April 27 International Aintree 200 Aintree Britain Non-championship
May 11 International Trophy Silver stone Britain Non-championship
May 19 Grand Prix of Rome Vallelunga Italy Non-championship
May 26 Monaco Grand Prix Monaco Monaco World Championship
June 9 Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps Belgium World Championship
23 june Dutch Grand Prix Zandvoort Netherlands World Championship
June 30th Grand Prix of France Reims France World Championship
July 20 British Grand Prix Silver stone Britain World Championship
July 28 Grand Prix of Solitude Solitude Germany Non-championship
August 4 German Grand Prix Nürburgring Germany World Championship
August 11 Kanonloppet Karlskoga Sweden Non-championship
August 18 Mediterranean Grand Prize Enna-Pergouse Italy Non-championship
September 1st Austrian Grand Prix Zeltweg Austria Non-championship
September 8 Italian Grand Prix Monza Italy World Championship
September 21 International Gold Cup Oulton Park Britain Non-championship
October 6 United States Grand Prix Watkins Valley United States World Championship
November 3 Mexican Grand Prix Magdalena Mixhuaca (now Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez) Mexico World Championship
December 14th Grand Prix Rand Kyalami South Africa Non-championship
December 28 South African Grand Prix London is South Africa World Championship

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