Vettel says 20 races per year is near teams’ limit

2012 F1 season

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2011Sebastian Vettel doubts the F1 calendar could expand much further beyond the current 20 races per season.

The world champion told Servus TV this year’s 20-race schedule is near the limit of what teams can cope with:

“I think 20 is a good number but it’s a big number,” said Vettel. “Not just for us, the drivers, I think for the whole team, for the whole paddock.

“To move around sometimes have races back-to-back one weekend straight after the other is not easy, I think that you need to be aware of that.

“We have the races more and more spread out around the globe so these things don’t make it easy. So I think we just get away with 20 races.”

This year’s calendar is the longest ever with 20 races, and it is set to expand next year with the planned addition of a second race in the USA.

Vettel won the latest addition to the calendar, the Indian Grand Prix, last year. The United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas joined the calendar this year.

Asked which of the current races he enjoys most Vettel said: “I really love to go to Japan. First of all the track is amazing.

“The atmosphere there is completely different. The people there are very friendly and very crazy, in a positive way, about motorsport, about racing, about Formula One.

“That’s something very nice to see and makes you feel very special when you get there and you see that there’s so big support for Formula One and for the drivers.”

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60 comments on Vettel says 20 races per year is near teams’ limit

  1. Chris Johnson (@therealcj) said on 16th May 2012, 22:49

    I’m (barely) old enough to remember when there were only a dozen Grands Prix, and 12 “good” races would still be enough for me. Or, Bernie could expand the calendar at will and have regional Formula One championships, with only certain events counting toward the “World Championship”.

  2. One thing I liked from that interview was when he was asked about what he would do if he had a day to himself and could do anything at all he wanted that wasn’t “jumping in a car and screeching around a track.” He said what he’d really want to do on any day, given the choice, is drive his F1 car. They don’t get very much time in the cars, now that testing is so limited, so that would always be his first choice. “I would always go for the car, to be honest, I think…it’s a very special feeling. It’s difficult to explain and to describe how it feels – but that’s, I think, what makes it so special.”

    It made me wonder, how many people in the world, when asked, “If you could do anything you wanted for one day, what would it be?” would be able to answer, “My job!”

    • Kimi4WC said on 17th May 2012, 0:29

      Buy a semi-competitive kart(Not to waste too much money on soft tyres). Should be around 7-10k. To drive on an open track on weekends or after work. You will be amazed how much fun it is.

  3. Kanil (@kanil) said on 17th May 2012, 4:33

    20 isn’t even close to being near the limit. NASCAR does 36 and some exhibition events, after all. Of course, travel times for the drivers are a bit more intense in F1, which would reduce the number somewhat. Even then, it’s still way higher than 20.

    The only thing stopping the teams from cutting some of their more frivolous costs in order to afford more cars and personnel is a lack of willpower.

    I don’t expect to see too many more races than we currently have, but it’s laughable to think that there’s some magic number of races that cannot be expanded upon.

    • Tricky (@tricky) said on 17th May 2012, 7:33

      I absolutely agree that the teams could gear up for more races if they wanted (certainly the big teams).
      They already wanted to go testing again this year.
      I think the downsides are more that the small teams would probably not receive much more money so would find it difficult to finance more races, and would fans really watch many more…

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th May 2012, 13:42

      @kanil I’m a huge F1 fan but you won’t catch me giving up half of my life to follow the F1 circus around the world on TV. I have a life to lead!

      • Kanil (@kanil) said on 18th May 2012, 10:27

        20 hours a year would really be half your life just to watch 10 more races?


        F1 is already the least demanding of all the sports I personally watch, but I suppose if you can’t actually watch 30 races, then having 10 more would at least give you 10 races you might like better than Hungary or Abu Dhabi…

  4. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 17th May 2012, 8:50

    Were there’s a will (or a profit opportunity) there’s a way.

    More than 20 races a year means packing them closer together. Back to back weekends and/or mid week night time races. One way to achieve this is to shorten the programme by one day. I say get rid of Fridays. They add nothing to the show. Certainly not to the armchair viewer anyway.

    Just a thought

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th May 2012, 13:41

      Get rid of Friday?! So when do you propose the teams fit in the their practice sessions so they can dial into the circuit? How about future driver development?

      Madness! @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk

      • Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 18th May 2012, 9:22

        As I said it’s just a thought. It’s amazing how change is resisted. The total on track time from the current three day programme could easily be fit into two days. I don’t have a well formed plan how this could be acheived because I don’t know the logistics but someone must know and we might get an informed response rather than it just “madness”.

        It might be a good subject for an article. Any takers? Keith?

        • Spanky Speed (@spankyspeed) said on 18th May 2012, 9:27

          You are just looking at track time?
          What about the night the mechanics need between the practice sessions and the Qualifying? Do you suggest we have the Qualifying directly before the race? That will cut deeply into admission and advertisement income.

          • Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 18th May 2012, 14:52

            True enough Qualifying would be best left to the day before the race but don’t forget the premise is to have more race weekends which would mean a lot more money coming into the sport. As I’ve said I don’t have a suggested race/qualifying/practice timetable but I think I could come up with one. Remember Force India in Bahrain? They missed Friday with little effect on their qualy and race. I hear your point about the off track time for the mechanics and I already had thought about that hence my reference to logistics but potential financial gain for having more races should get some clever minds focussed on resolving those issues.
            At the end of the day I’m not arguing in favour of scrapping Fridays, I’m in favour of us exploring the option. If we are emotionally attached to the three day program then so be it, but I’m not.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th May 2012, 13:38

    I’m happy with 20. There’s more than enough motorsport to accommodate F1 off-weekends!

    I love this sport as many of you do and the last thing I want is to think that people are being dragged away from their nearest and dearest more and more. It’s already a tough lifestyle for many of them, which yes, they do choose, but there has to be a limit.

    • Spanky Speed (@spankyspeed) said on 17th May 2012, 16:45

      I’m happy with 20. There’s more than enough motorsport to accommodate F1 off-weekends!

      Exactly. This weekend it’s the Nürburgring 24h and DTM for me. Next weekend it’s already overkill with the Monaco GP, Indy 500, GT1, Int. GT Open, Porsche Supercup.

  6. The Limit said on 17th May 2012, 13:51

    With having more ‘global’ grands prix instead of European ones without doubt puts more pressure on the smaller teams such as Caterham and Hispania. When you look at the start of this current season we had Australia, Malaysia, and China all close together. Towards the end of the season the teams will return to the region for Singapore, Korea and Japan. That is a huge logistical undertaking even for teams with the financial clout of Ferrari and McLaren, nevermind the smaller teams.
    F1 has for many years held grands prix in far off shores, Argentina and South Africa are two very good examples, but in the last decade the emphasis has shifted away from the European events to more ‘flyaway’ races. When the economy was good it may have seemed a good idea, with teams bankrolled by the likes of BMW, Toyota, and Honda where ten years ago money was no object. Times have changed and these companies are long gone along with the prosperity of our once strong economies.
    F1, like many other enterprises, still finds itself in a delicate position with teams that are not as secure as Ferrari and McLaren due to the economic crisis. Even the likes of Mercedes F1 are seriously looking, if reports are accurate, at their prolonged involvement in the sport.
    So Vettel has a point, there has to be a cutoff somewhere. The age old problem is which circuits do the drop and which ones do you keep? In recent months we have debated the idea about circuits ‘sharing’ events such as Spa sharing its slot with a new event in France. What we have to remember is that Ecclestone, like all money obsessed creatures, wants the circuits that pay him his ‘wedge’ per annum. The event in Bahrain is a good example, despite the political genocide as a backdrop.
    With so many European circuits struggling to make ends meat this scenario appears to be the most likely, at the expense of lesser teams such as Hispania and Caterham perhaps!

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