F1 teams happy to be ‘flexible’ over congested 2022 calendar

A number of the Formula 1 teams have voiced their support of the proposed 23-race calendar for the 2022 season despite its congested nature.
(L to R): Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal; Laurent Mekies (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director; and Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Aston Martin F1 Team Principal and CEO, in the FIA Press Conference.
(L to R): Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal; Laurent Mekies (FRA)…
© FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

F1 is set to announce the calendar for next season on Friday, with it expected to start in March with Bahrain and end in November at the Yas Marina Circuit.

With the FIFA World Cup in Qatar taking place in the winter, it appears F1 is keen to avoid a clash in December hence the earlier finish.

With a record amount of races squished into a smaller time frame, there have been concerns about the welfare of teams and their personnel.

Speaking during the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, Aston Martin’s Otmar Szafnauer isn’t concerned by the expected number of triple headers due to the season finishing in November, rather than December.

“Well, the first time you do a triple-header it’s all new and then from there on you learn and you do some things to make the triple headers easier,” he said. “However, they still are very taxing on all of us. We have two of them next year and hopefully after the pandemic is truly behind us we can look at the calendar and minimise or even get rid of all the triple headers. 

“The nice thing next year is that we start mid-March and finish mid-November, which gives us a decent winter break. You can put up with a triple-header or two if you know you are not racing up until Christmas.”

Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies said it was important the teams are ‘flexible’ due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the challenges that it brings.

“I think Otmar explained it very well,” he added. “I think it is clear it is very challenging for Formula 1 to put a great calendar together in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“So in that context we obviously understand that there needs to be a level of flexibility from the teams which is why we just have to cope with these triple headers now and then once, hopefully, the pandemic is out of the way we will sit down again and see how to move forward as it’s probably the aspect that is the most taxing for the race team. 

“Hopefully it will be the first thing that will go away once the pandemic is out of the radar.”

According to RaceFans, F1 will head to Azerbaijan before going to Canada in mid-June - to venues that are thousands of miles apart.

AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost sympathised with organisers and explained why it’s not always possible to have countries host races that are close to each other.

“To create the calendar is really a difficult topic,” Tost explained. “It’s not only regarding to the geographical side, to the logistics. It depends on the different countries, they have other events over there where you can’t come then with a Formula 1 event, or holidays or other things that have to be taken into consideration. 

“Therefore, it is quite complicated to make such a calendar and I think that Stefano [Domenicali] and FOM have optimized everything in the best possible way.”

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