McLaren-Mercedes duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have insisted that it is not the drivers that will be punished by the gruelling schedule of 20 grands prix in F1 2011, but rather the likes of mechanics, engineers and other team personnel.

The fast-approaching campaign will be the longest in the sport's history, with a new race in India in October and all 19 of the 2010 events remaining on the calendar - meaning there are eight-and-a-half months, or a mind-boggling 259 days, between the Bahrain curtain-raiser in March and the Brazilian finale in late November.

Factor in pre-season and end-of-season testing, and it all adds up to an awful lot of time away from home - too much, some contend. But it is not the drivers who - cossetted by private jets and five-star hotels - will suffer, stress Britain's last two world champions.

"For us, racing is what we are here to do," mused Button. "It's busy for us, but it's not us you need to worry about - it's all the mechanics and team personnel. It's tough for them, because they're giving all they can which means they don't see their families very often. Their views should be important in this situation."

"Our team are under incredible pressure and away for such a large part of the year," echoed title-winning predecessor Hamilton. "That will be the limiting factor, and also with regard to their stamina, because all the travelling takes a huge amount out of you. We are all in it together to win it, but we will do what we can to adjust to whatever circumstances we have."

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