Ross Brawn has admitted that the increased 2011 F1 calendar will have serious implications for the various teams and their workforces, at time when the sport is still looking to cut costs.
The new schedule, issued following this week's World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris, features 20 races including, as expected, the addition of India in the latter stages of the season. Although F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone admits that 20 rounds is probably the upper limit, there are other contenders for a slot waiting in the wings - including the confirmed American round in Austin - and Brawn fears that the length of the campaign is already beginning to reach breaking point for the teams.
"We want to have these extra races, it's good for F1, but it's reaching a critical stage in terms of people being able to cope," the Mercedes team boss said, "People all have families and, if you are away for 20 races, it's a lot of time away from home. I think we are going to have to start thinking about particularly time available for people when they are not at the racetrack."
Brawn told Reuters
that the 2011 championship, which starts in Bahrain on 13 March and, via back-to-back weekends for Malaysia/China, Spain/Monaco, Germany/Hungary and Japan/South Korea, ends, provisionally at least, in Brazil on 27 November, could lead to teams employing more and more engineers, even though the cost-cutting measures introduced over the past couple of years have seen a reduction in personnel, particularly with the need for separate testing crews removed by the ban on in-season development sessions.
"We have a small group of mechanics who rotate because, occasionally, someone will pick up an injury," Brawn revealed, "We've got a mechanic who's got a bad back at the moment who's not with us, so we've got someone standing in for him. It becomes a bit more difficult with the engineers because, of course, they are very closely linked with their drivers, but I think we'll have to think about their workload at the factory, as well as at the circuit."