22 races, triple-header weekends possible – McLaren

2013 F1 season

Sergio Perez, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, 2013Formula One teams could cope with a triple-header weekend and a 22-race schedule according to McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael.

The FIA’s proposed 2014 F1 calendar includes 22 races with three on consecutive weekends in Monaco, New Jersey and Canada.

Asked if F1 teams could cope with the logistical demands of racing on three weekends in a row, Michael said: “We’ll just need to adapt if that’s what’s required.”

“Obviously we can do a double-header so once you do a double-header you can do a triple-header, can’t you?”

Speaking during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Michael said the biggest challenge would be fatigue among the team’s personnel.

“Equipment and planes and things don’t get tired, people do,” he said. “So it means that you have to consider the support crew that comes to set up at a grand prix, perhaps they won’t always necessarily be the same people.”

“At the moment with a two-week break you can use your race crew to do a lot of set-up of garages and things. If you get into triple-headers what you might have is a crew – which is not necessarily a big crew – maybe a handful of people – to go out and set up a race structure before a proper race team arrives.

“You may actually get to the point where you have separate crews that crew the cars or even engineer the cars. I’m not sure we’re quite at that point yet, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Michael added that for McLaren the cost of bringing more staff to do set-up work could be minimised by using existing employees who run the team’s heritage cars at other events.

“Those costs of additional people would be marginal compared to the costs of additional grands prix, because teams get income from doing races,” he said.

However he admitted that the coming run of three pairs of double-header races is “the most tiring part of the season”.

“It’s really where from a human point of view you put all of your energy in the 12 months before this to make sure people are fit and healthy to not just and covered properly to not just do their job and cope with jet lag and normal 16 to 18 hour days that the race mechanics do.

“In the case of the pit crew they’ve got an athletic job to do on Sunday with the pit stops so we need to make sure they’re fit and healthy for that as well.”

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30 comments on 22 races, triple-header weekends possible – McLaren

  1. Garns (@) said on 1st October 2013, 13:17

    A triple header in two continents seems a hard slog for the team and drivers………… but as an F1F I look forward to it!!!
    Maybe 3 in a row in Europe easier but I think the old historic European tracks are the best of the year, and there are too few these days, so would hate to see them go so fast!
    I am not so sure we will get 22 races next year and BE suspects one wont be ready and they will try 21.

    • MW (@) said on 1st October 2013, 13:40

      the old historic European tracks are the best of the year, and there are too few these days, so would hate to see them go so fast!

      @garns Yes but this would open up the possibility of attending 3 of the best GPs over your 2 week holidays while following the F1 teams around Europe.. V Cool!
      Actually if they put Hungary, Belgium and Italy together it might work better if they rearranged the order to Belgium, Hungary, Italy so that you could get the train from one to the next :)

  2. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 1st October 2013, 13:22

    I think Sam Michael is kidding himself. An intercontinental triple header, involving a trip to the US would push the teams to the absolute limit.

    • marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 1st October 2013, 14:40

      Would it? The problem is, for the F1 fanatics like ourselves, is that we don’t really know where the teams’ “absolute limit” is. Teams have vested interest in stating that they can’t do a triple-header, perhaps due to financial or logistical costs. That doesn’t mean that they cannot absolutely do a triple-header, simply it will be easier for them to avoid doing new calculations and pushing new logistical deals to adapt to new racing regulations. It’s simple – if you’re asked to perform a task to a deadline in 7 or 14 days, you’re going to choose a later date – it’s in your logistical interest, especially if you’ve been working to 14-day deadlines for the last decade. It’s not easier, but it does not mean it’s not possible for you to do. Once the teams will figure it out, it’s going to be the norm.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 2nd October 2013, 5:06

        Well when the majority of the teams who have commented on this have said it isn’t feasible, I tend to agree with them. As far as I am aware, the quote from McLaren above is the first a team has said they will be fine with the planned intercontinental triple header.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st October 2013, 16:03

      I guess the trick is in how they approach it. If you look at what he mentions, its clear from that that they will have an extra team of people just to setup everything in the garage etc. And off course teams like McLaren, Ferrari but also Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus can draw on a larger pool of people if they need (the test teams that went to be the guys taking care of older cars, track days and demonstrations etc).

      The bigger trouble will probably be for teams like Marussia, Caterham, Force India, Sauber @geemac. Oh, and IMO its a question of whether the fans will be thrilled too, I feel its getting a bit much when F1 is on every weekend (at least have it late evenings or early mornings so we can spend the rest of the day with social activities!)

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 1st October 2013, 16:16

      @geemac – Isn’t that what we want? Teams/drivers pushed to the absolute limit?

      As I mentioned below though, a flight to New York is only 7 hours and and the time zone is only -6 hours so jet lag won’t be too big an issue.

    • HawkAussie (@hawkaussie) said on 2nd October 2013, 1:47

      It is so crazy

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 2nd October 2013, 10:11

      @geemac I agree an intercontinental triple header would be hard, but this could be planned better. The calendar itself for many years has made no sense. In terms of cost cutting, which all parties have talked of for many years, why do the races line up the way they do? Why are we watching a race in Korea this week and Singapore last week when then teams and drivers started the season in this part of world. Why can’t the U.S and the Canadian rounds be tied together? Why do teams go back and forth to Europe instead of doing all the rounds together? Correct me if I’m wrong but i believe the calendar follows someone’s personal agenda rather than a financial or feasible agenda.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 2nd October 2013, 10:15

        I agree, I’ve always wondered about that. On the US/Canada example I have no idea, the races were tied together in 2007, so it obviously can be done. A US/Canada/Mexico/ Brazil swing would make sense I guess.

        There are also weather factors to take into account like monsoon seasons in the subcontinent and Asia and the massive heat in the Middle East from April to September (its still not all that cool now come to think of it!). It’s a complicated task setting the calendar, but I agree it could be better laid out.

        • I understand that FOM has actually tried to rationalise the calendar in recent years, but has sometimes run into opposition from the track owners over making those changes.

          Some track owners prefer to have races at certain times of year for commercial or logistical reasons – Abu Dhabi is towards the tail end of the calendar for that reason, as is the Brazilian GP, whilst the Australians do not want to be moved from their position at the beginning of the calendar. The push for a race in New Jersey is in response to the requests from the teams for the race in Canada to be twinned with another race in the US – COTA does not want to be paired with Canada in June because of the climatic conditions whilst the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve wants to hold the race in the summer.

          Other venues have strict timeframes for when they can and cannot hold races due to other factors – Spa, for example, is restricted in terms of the number of races, and the times of year that they can run them, due to tight regulations on noise pollution.

          Similarly, other racing series impose restrictions on F1 – because Formula 1 can have multiple support series, such as the Porsche Supercup or GP2 and GP3, running over the same race weekend, FOM has to take into account the schedules of the support series too.

          There are also problems with clashes with the World Endurance Championship – the ACO dislikes the possibility of races clashing with F1, and has lobbied the FIA to restrict the likelihood of that happening. Part of the reason for the longer than usual gap between the Canadian and British GP this year is because the ACO point blank refuses to allow a GP to coincide with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and has persuaded the FIA to prevent that happening.

  3. Garns (@) said on 1st October 2013, 14:20

    @mw
    I had not thought of it from that perspective but yes, spot on mate!
    My wife and I went to Japan in 2012, had an awesome time, but a fairly large outlay for one F1.

    We are looking to head to Europe in 2015 for two GP’s but yes, 3 of the best over 2 weeks an awesome tourism play! Its a hike from Australia to Europe but a “GP marathon of the best” will make it easier!!

    For anyone outside Europe this would be great!

    I still cant help to think this will push the teams too much. Yes they are the best of the best, but they need a certain amount of R&R to be at 100%………….. if it were for BE we would have 52 races in 2015 haha!

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 2nd October 2013, 17:08

      Travelling across Europe is way easier because countries are small and teams and fans can take advantage of well integrated transportation network. IMHO making Germany/Belgium/Italy a triple is easier than Canada/Texas/Mexico or even Texas/Mexico/Brazil.

  4. FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 1st October 2013, 15:00

    I was wondering… could they not move the Monaco GP back one week? Surely that would be more logical, unless I’m missing something here?

    • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 1st October 2013, 20:07

      Whether they’ll admit it or not I have a feeling that the FIA likes Monaco being the kickoff to the longest and one of the most prestigious days in non-endurance racing.

      If my math is correct 2014 would be the 72nd Monaco GP, 98th Indy 500 & 55th Coke 600 with a total of 1,262mi (2,031km) of racing in one day.

      The sanctioning bodies love it, the teams & drivers love it, the sponsors love it, the networks (especially those that broadcast more then one of those events) love it and most importantly the fans love it.

  5. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 1st October 2013, 16:13

    I don’t see much difference with it being inter-continental as it’s only a 7 hours flight. It’d take just aslong to drive across Europe in a truck.

    It’s certainly not going to be easy for them but far from impossible.

    I’d be very surprised if it actually happens though. Bernie has never said anything that’s even gone close to suggesting that New Jersey will actually happen.

  6. Aditya F. Yahya (@adityafakhri) said on 1st October 2013, 17:24

    22 seems to much for me, to be honest. ideal number would be 18. with so much races, I’m afraid it’s gonna reduce the excitement on race weekends. for me, it’s better to make better selection on available contracts and keep it 20 rather than add more.
    more money for the team yes, but is it really? they will also spent more money, won’t they? with in season testing next year and new regulation stuff… man I fear some minnow teams will struggle more to even attend races. and they’re all talking on financial control/cost cutting. nonsense.
    more races mean raise on TV rights. so public access on free coverage will be more restricted, and pay per view cost will hike some numbers.
    I don’t see any big winner on this unless FOM and CVC.

  7. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 1st October 2013, 17:25

    Why putting Monaco right before New Jersey and Canada on a triple, when they could just put it right after Spain and make it a double-double?

    Wouldn’t it be just better to make all the Euro events double headers and minimize the consecutive GPs everywhere else (except the American legs)? They could do 5 double headers one after the other from Spain to Italy, with the summer holidays before Spa, as usual. And then, all fresh towards the Asian leg.

  8. BJ (@beejis60) said on 1st October 2013, 18:06

    I wonder if one of these teams will be willing to take me on as one of their newly-expanded support staff? :p

  9. As a fan, I find 20 races too many, let alone 22. I’d prefer the calendar to be no more than 17 races, preferably spaced every two weeks apart.

  10. tigen (@tigen) said on 1st October 2013, 20:51

    To reduce costs perhaps they should institute a mid-season development freeze. Or at least an aerodynamic freeze. Set a cutoff point at, for example, just before the summer break (traditional “half-way” point). So next year that would be just after Hungary on July 27. After the cutoff, aero would be frozen and changes only allowed for FIA-approved safety fixes.

    If desired they could have a partial freeze at an earlier date, such as June 8 before the second European leg. At this time changes would still be allowed but limited in scope, such as wings and diffusers.

  11. Boomerang said on 1st October 2013, 22:00

    Why not 52 races!? Every week one race. Or, 365 races, every day one race would be perfect. Regreatably, time limit for GP is 2 hours. Consequently we can have only 12 races daily. That would be even better!
    I admittingly was perfectly happy with 16 races. Considering increasing costs of development and huge change in regulations for 2014 sixteen races would be a true blessing for the teams.

  12. David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 1st October 2013, 23:08

    If traveling is the issue here why don’t they just set the Malaysian and Singapore GP on consecutive weekends? They’re virtually next to each other on the world map and furthermore the drivers won’t get jetlag; I never understood the rationale behind the order of the calendar. Likewise for other countries close to each other.

    • HawkAussie (@hawkaussie) said on 2nd October 2013, 1:51

      Thank you, cause it should be Australia-Europe-America-Asia-Brazil in order

    • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 2nd October 2013, 8:18

      Part of the issue with Malaysia and then Singapore back to back is the theory that people who’d go to both if they’re at different times of the year won’t go to both if they are back to back. Now what the actual percentage of cross-over in attendees is I have no idea but I’m sure somebody somewhere has it since most reserved seats at sporting events across the world require you to give your name anymore.

  13. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 2nd October 2013, 0:02

    If you can do a double header, you can do a triple header:

    – if it is the same person/team carrying out a certain job in a double header, this person can do it in a triple header as well

    – if you have two separate persons/teams carrying out a certain job in a double header, the person/team from the first race can work again on the third race.

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