Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner has expressed concern that next year's F1 calendar will stretch teams to breaking point.
A provisional schedule containing 22 races was issued in the build-up to this weekend's Korean Grand Prix
and, despite doubts still surrounding several of the events on the list, has caused much hand-wringing among teams, who are worried that the extended campaign will require either more of their workforce or two race/test teams. Even in the latter scenario, however, key team members – such as principals and chief race engineers – are not easily replaced.
The current season is 'only' 19 races long following the cancellation of the proposed New Jersey round, but the American event – along with other additions in Russia, Mexico and Austria and the return of in-season testing – look set to push F1 to new extremes in terms of schedule length in 2014.
"I think we all recognise that 22 races is beyond the limit, the strain that it puts on the team and the entourage that follow F1," Horner told reporters in Yeongam, "If you are doing 22 races in economy class, flying around the world and you are going a week before the race and coming back a day or so after, it's a long, tough season.”
Horner argued that, while he could understand the demand for races, he did not expect to see all 22 remain on the final calendar when it is published towards the end of the year.
"For me, the ideal number is 20, that I think is saturation point, but I can understand why [Bernie Ecclestone] is pushing to get more venues,” he noted, "Of course, [22 races] is feasible, but it's expensive.
"Let's see what happens. The calendar has changed a lot over the last few weeks and I'm sure that, before the end of the season, there will probably be a few more tweaks to it."