Christian Horner has questioned the feasibility of F1’s bumper 23-race calendar next season, suggesting it could be a “big ask” for the sport to get through it due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s planned 22-race calendar would have been the highest ever number of events in a season but was scrapped in March and racing re-started in July with a reduced and heavily revised 17-race schedule.
The 2021 season is due to start in Australia in March but the country’s borders are currently closed to travel from everywhere except New Zealand and both January’s Bathurst 12 Hours and February’s Adelaide 500 are already cancelled.
Horner said: “We have to remember we are in extraordinary times at the moment. Will we actually achieve 23 races? Will Covid be a thing of the past by the time we start in the back end of March? Who knows?”
The new calendar was announced ahead of the last race in Imola and most teams revealed they are already planning to develop “rotation” crews for the first time in the sport’s history to cope with the intense schedule if it does all go ahead.
“It is a big ask. 23 weekends is a lot,” added Horner. “I would rather go racing than testing (but) for the mechanics it is a massive task. They obviously travel around the world but in less than optimum conditions compared to some others.
“I think that travelling to a race track on a Monday and being there for a week, that is 23 weeks away from home. It is at a point where we are at saturation and need almost a second crew. That is something we have to look at.”
Franz Tost, the boss of Red Bull ‘s sister team AlphaTauri, confirmed they will also prepare “substitutions” not just to cope with the additional number of races but also to replace personnel in the case of positive Covid-19 tests.
Speaking at the last Grand Prix in Imola, Tost said: “We will have 23 races and I hope this will be the case with the Covid story. It means that we have to build up the infrastructure for the sum of races.
“We will bring in additional mechanics, some additional engineers just so that we have some people for substitutions because you never know what is going on there, just to be on the safe side."
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