Ross Brawn says if new F1 owners Liberty Media opt to expand the current race calendar it must focus on quality and also prepare teams with a NASCAR-style two team engineers rotation.
The former Ferrari, Brawn GP and Mercedes chief has been installed by Liberty Media to oversee the sporting side of the F1 management under new CEO Chase Carey after the axing of Bernie Ecclestone last week.
Brawn has a number of key issues to address in his new position – including revisiting the F1 budget cap
– but another priority he has is laying out Liberty Media's plans to alter the F1 race calendar.
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Talks of expanding the calendar to 25 races has been touted which Brawn believes is achievable with minor tweaks and logistical planning but has stressed the quality of new races need to be worthwhile – with a focus of a strong fanbase and commercial appeal.
“They [Liberty Media] asked me what I thought was the maximum number of races, and first of all I said we've got to balance quality and quantity,” Brawn told ESPN. “We've got to make sure we don't just have races because we can increase the number, the races have to be of good quality, in good places and in exciting places.
“We also need to think about the frequency of races because the nice balance of a race every other weekend is perfect. But teams can organise themselves to do more than the current number.”
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If F1 does open up its race calendar Brawn suggests teams should introduce two sets of race crews to alternate in order to provide sufficient rest periods – but feels this doesn't need to apply to drivers due to the lack of test days under the current rules.
“20 or 21 [races] is pretty tough on the crews and tough on the engineers, tough on everyone who travels,” he said. “But if you then set yourself up with two sets of crews and two sets of engineers and all the rest of it, which I believe is what NASCAR does, then you can do it. You have to engage with everyone to make that step.
“There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have more races, but you can't have more races with the same structure that teams have now, because it would just break it.
"If we can have more races and find a way with the teams of giving them the capacity to do it properly then it's certainly not a strain on the drivers, because they don't do any testing anymore and there are other people within the organisation for whom it is not a strain, but it would be a strain on the crews and engineers and so on.
“It's addressable and it can be done. Fundamentally we need to decide if we want that number of races and if it makes sense for the sport and makes sense for the show.”
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