How a 24-race F1 season might be determined – F1
The addition of a Vietnam race and revival of the Dutch Grand Prix, new offers for Britain and Mexico and ongoing efforts to save lots of the races in Spain, Germany and Italy imply the F1 calendar is ready to be busier than ever in 2020.
A 22-race schedule is anticipated and has been supported by groups, however F1 continues to be taking a look at including extra new races whereas wishing to retain conventional venues.
When Autosport requested varied staff bosses in regards to the implications on prices and engine use with additional calendar growth, Ferrari staff principal Mattia Binotto made a reference to “24 races” in 2021 and the way F1 wants to arrange for that.
Whereas F1 isn’t explicitly focusing on a 24-race schedule to coincide with its incoming main on/off-track overhaul, groups are nonetheless overtly involved in regards to the wider image of the calendar.
This boils right down to a number of elements that want addressing if F1’s development is to be sustained.
The industrial curiosity of the groups
Although F1’s monetary construction is ready to vary in 2021, the best way the cash is shared can nonetheless be summarised as all of the groups getting a slice of F1’s ‘revenues pie’.
Nonetheless, the extra races there are, the upper the groups’ respective prices.
“When you take a look at the larger image for us, it is merely vital now additionally to be a bit cautious to not enhance the variety of races even additional,” says McLaren staff principal Andreas Seidl.
“After all we perceive the industrial viewpoint however I feel it is also vital that we preserve this exclusivity for every of the occasions, which does not essentially get higher by including increasingly races.”
Races just like the Vietnam and Dutch GPs have reportedly struck cheaper offers than F1’s earlier possession might need facilitated, whereas the British GP was saved after Silverstone negotiated a brand new, cheaper contract.
Which means the full revenue might not rise in tandem with the variety of races, which displays a disparity between the expansion in staff bills in comparison with their slice of the revenue.
Encouragingly, this seems to be avoidable with a short-term rise to 22 races.
“There’s much more dialog available round it, notably across the elements,” says Williams deputy staff principal Claire Williams.
“From a monetary perspective, we have to simply make it possible for it is going to work, that it cowl all our prices.
“We’re at that time now the place we might say sure it might.”
Engine limits and decreasing testing
If producers should not able to adhering to the identical strict engine elements restrict as increasingly grands prix are added, extra engines might be used – which means grid penalties and additional price.
If the restrict modifications to forestall extra penalties, which appears unlikely at this stage, the price rises anyway.
The foundations won’t change for subsequent yr, at the very least. Whether or not that’s doable for 2021, ought to a 23rd or 24th race be added, is a distinct query.
Pink Bull staff principal Christian Horner made the case that it might “make sense to extend the allocation on energy models and elements” if groups are compelled into fourth engines and due to this fact penalties subsequent yr.
With “an entire raft of penalties coming via” within the subsequent races in 2019, because the Honda and Renault-powered groups below imminent menace of grid drops, Horner believes it’s a “tall ask” to finish much more races with the identical limits, although the expertise continues to enhance.
One of many options is to cut back the quantity of testing even additional.
In 10 years, F1’s pre-season take a look at days have shrunk significantly – from a number of days at a number of venues via the winter to simply two official, collective exams.
Nonetheless, from 2020, it seems testing might be amended ultimately, decreasing the variety of days even additional in an try to save lots of prices.
Horner describes a part of the rationale as: “Slightly than utilizing engines for going testing, if we scale back the in-season testing and pre-season testing barely, that frees up an engine that almost all of groups are going to make use of anyway.”
Binotto mentioned it “could possibly be an ideal concept”.
Avoiding a “nightmare” situation
F1’s 21-race calendar this yr has been kinder on these working within the championship than the identical schedule in 2018, primarily due to the absence of a mid-season European triple-header.
The choice to place France, Austria and Britain back-to-back-to-back final yr was nearly universally unpopular.
It created a logistical “nightmare” for the groups, and is one thing Williams says groups have been “assured” might be prevented.
“I feel that broke lots of people final yr,” says Williams. “But additionally from a logistical perspective that’s only a nightmare, it is a catastrophe.
“Going to Austria, after we all took makeshift motorhomes, it does not look nice for the race nevertheless it’s simply not good for anybody’s price base both.”
Nonetheless, which means the one resolution is to increase the racing season: begin it earlier, or end it later.
The 2019 calendar already runs to the beginning of December, and the 2020 season will begin in mid-March once more, which implies extra time away for these working at groups.
Rotating workers is an imperfect resolution, whereas the incoming 2021 finances cap means staffing numbers will already be below stress.
“I am not too involved about engine parts, I am extra involved about staff members,” provides long-serving Alfa Romeo staff supervisor Beat Zhender.
“As a small staff we’re on the restrict with 21 races already.
“Any extra race will make it tougher and we have now to consider rising the variety of race staff members and establishing a rotating system.”
Seidl agreed that groups will seemingly require organisational modifications, and added that F1 should be cautious to not “ask for an excessive amount of” extra from its personnel.
F1’s pursuit of extra races is comprehensible, nevertheless it jars barely with a shift to decrease prices and higher useful resource administration.
Whether or not this may be solved will come right down to the rulemakers profitable groups over with viable compromises, or placing their foot down and easily telling rivals to manage.