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Why F1's calendar plans should not be rushed

Why F1's calendar plans should not be rushed

F1 News

Why F1's calendar plans should not be rushed

Why F1's calendar plans should not be rushed

Ross Brawn has said Formula 1 is still targeting a 19-race season but is this a realistic proposition or are Liberty Media in dreamland?

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Vodcast on Wednesday, F1's managing director of motorsports revealed it was still Liberty's ambition to run 19 races in 2020, potentially starting the season in July and completing repeated triple headers across the season.

In order to complete such a campaign, Brawn has requested that teams assist by being as flexible as possible, in turn allowing for creative solutions.

However, while it is possible for multiple double-headers, running repeat triple-headers would present the teams with considerable challenges.

Firstly, a triple-header in Europe is a logistical nightmare. The only triple-header in the history of the sport was run in 2018 when the French, Austrian and British Grands Prix were back to back to avoid a clash with football's World Cup Final.

As outlined by F1 sporting director Steve Nielsen, the transportation of machinery and the hospitality units by road, along with the build and take-down procedures involved, make a European triple-header a far more arduous task than consecutive flyaway races.

"I think what it taught us is that if we were to do a triple-header again - and it's not something we'd undertake lightly - it would certainly be better to do it at flyaway events rather than European ones," said Nielsen.

"In Europe, we have large hospitality units. They are unique, but constructing and deconstructing them is enormously time-consuming and hugely expensive in terms of manpower, etcetera.

"So if we were to do something like a triple-header I think it would be at flyaways."

Secondly, the financial impact of running multiple back-to-back races must be considered, along with the stress placed on team personnel.

It was made clear by teams, both before and after the 2018 triple-header, that this would have a huge effect on their staff.

Being away from friends and family, and stuck in such a high-pressure environment for weeks on end, takes a toll on mental well-being.

A "couple of two-day races" on revamped 2020 Formula 1 calendarRead more

In 2018, the teams further pointed out that if a similar situation were to arise again it could mean a second set of mechanics would need to be employed in order to fulfil the requirements.

The problem here is that hiring extra personnel would obviously cost money, and with the sport introducing a reduced budget cap in the region of $125-150 million in order to protect teams from going out of business, taking on additional staff may not be a viable option.

If a 19-race season is not viable, and these are just two reasons why it is an unlikely possibility at best, what are the next best options?

Two factors are key to this thinking.

First, in order to fulfil the contractual obligations to broadcasters, F1 must hold at least 15-races.

There is a chance these numbers could be eased slightly, or the deadline for the races to be held could be extended into early 2021, but for the moment, the number is 15.

Secondly, and more crucially, under the regulations, the minimum number of races required for there to be a valid championship is eight.

With these two figures in mind, it would make complete sense for Brawn and Liberty Media to make their starting point eight races, and work from there.

While it may seem prudent to be spending time on rescheduling races now, it could all be in vain if further events are postponed or cancelled, so there is no need to rush this process.

It would be more beneficial to determine when a season can begin, based on the all-clear from various governments and health organisations around the world, and then deciding the running order of whatever races are willing to hold an event.

It's not a simple task, but it's not an impossible one either.

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