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Triple-header, testing key concerns for 2014

Team managers have expressed their fears over the additional burden brought by new races and the return of in-season testing on the 2014 F1 schedule.
The expanded 2014 F1 calendar contains several potential headaches for the teams, not least the demands placed on personnel, but two areas in particular are already causing much head-scratching.

The most obvious concern surrounds the inclusion of a 'triple-header' run of races, comprising Monaco, New Jersey and Montreal, and the logistics required to ship a full team from one of the most perilous events across the Atlantic to compete again the next weekend.

New Jersey is one of four new rounds included on the provisional 22-race calendar issued in the run-up to this weekend's Korean Grand Prix and, while the US event still has its doubters, the teams have to plan for its confirmation when the final schedule is issued towards the end of the year. New Jersey had been expected to form a double-header with Montreal, but with at least one free weekend beforehand to allow the shipment of equipment from Europe.

“Logistically, it's obviously going to be more of a challenge than this year, but the biggest issue at the moment looks like being the triple-header,” Mercedes team manager Ron Meadows told journalists on the opening day of the Korean event.

“We need to speak to FOM but, in FOM, we have a fantastic partner who arranges all the logistics. They do a fantastic job so, if they think it's achievable, it must be achievable, because they've never failed us yet.”

Meadows optimism – particularly taking into account the extra commercial opportunities presented by the additional venues - wasn't met with the same response by other team managers, who have already expressed concern over a schedule that takes in 22 races in 38 weekends.

“For us, the biggest headache is definitely personnel because, as a small team, we have to cover all races, tests and even demo events with the same number of people, the same crew,” Sauber's Beat Zehnder explained, “The more events you have, obviously the more difficult it gets. Then the triple-header… I think we would have to start packing up on Saturday in Monaco to make it to Jersey!

“Technically, it will be very difficult to have a back-to-back from Monaco to Jersey because, normally, the freight will leave for Canada, let's say, on the Saturday before the race. And so that's why, if you're only able to send your freight on a Monday or a Tuesday, it compromises your weekend quite a bit.”

Ferrari's Massimo Rivola was the most out-spoken in terms of the length of the calendar, admitting that he hoped to see it trimmed back to more manageable levels.



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