F1 team managers have expressed doubts over the viability of the FIA’s planned 2014 F1 calendar from a logistical and financial point of view.
Teams will be stretched next year with a biggest-ever schedule of 22 races, including races on consecutive weekends in Monaco, New Jersey and Canada, plus four two-day tests during the season.
Ferrari sporting director Massimo Rivola said the proposed calendar was too long: “To be honest I am still hoping we come back to the 20 races as per the current Sporting Regulations.”
“We will see. At the moment the calendar is not the best calendar possible to be honest in terms for logistics.
“The first race in Australia alone is not ideal, from the logistics side we would prefer to stop and do a race in a back-to-back coming from Australia. For sure there are some good commercial reasons behind that that I’m not aware but we will see when the calendar is 100% fixed.”
Mercedes’ sporting director Ron Meadows said having three races on consecutive weekends was the biggest challenge:
“We need to speak to FOM [Formula One Management] but in FOM we’ve got a fantastic partner who arrange all the logistics and they do a fantastic job. If they think it’s achievable then it’s achievable, they’ve never failed us yet.
“The financial aspect is give and take, rally. It opens up more doors. We probably will spend more on logistics but we’re going to get to see people in Russia, go back to Austria, we’re going to go to Mexico and it opens a lot more doors for sponsors, drivers, team members.”
Other teams expressed concerns over the cost and logistical implications of bringing back testing. Force India sporting director Andy Stevenson said: “For our team certainly the thing that we are going to find very difficult is the in-season testing.
“Four in-season tests are going to stretch us and that’s something we’re not looking forward to.”
Caterham team manager Graham Watson agreed: “It’s the in-season testing that’s probably going to push us to the edge. We had a meeting yesterday with the other teams and discussed the venues we were potentially going to go to and started to putting it down in the calendar it started to look like quite a daunting task.”
Long-serving Williams team manager Dickie Stanford pointed out that commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone does not discuss calendar arrangements with team managers before setting the schedule.
“No he doesn’t consult us,” said Stanford. “Whether he consults team principals, I don’t know.”
“We wait until we see the calendar before we know what’s going on.”
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Image ?é?® Ferrari/Ercole Colombo